Add this simple white bean salad recipe to your go-to arsenal for quick and easy vegetable salads. Serve this white bean salad alongside any grilled or pan-seared fish or seafood, chicken, steak or pork, or simply enjoy it on it’s own for a filling lunch with some crisp chopped lettuce.
Why I Love This Recipe
If our archive of “Simple Veg Salad Recipes” doesn’t make it obvious, I’m here to clarify. We love a good simple vegetable salad that’s unfussy yet loaded with flavor from a handful of robust ingredients.
And this simple white bean salad is just that. It’s easily thrown together—just 15 minutes or so—and is loaded with flavor from fresh herbs, our newest dried chili obsession, and some good olive oil and vinegar.
Ingredients in This White Bean Salad
- Shallot: use half of a large shallot or 1 small shallot, it should measure 3 tablespoons to ¼ cup once it’s finely chopped. Feel free to make some substitutions±red onions and scallions (green onions) are great options. Treat the whites and light green parts of the scallions as onion and the dark green parts as herb.
- Red wine vinegar: you can also use white wine vinegar, tarragon vinegar or white balsamic vinegar. I find red wine vinegar adds a nice depth in addition to tang.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: for the best flavor, use a high-quality robust olive oil.
- Fresh herbs: I prefer a mix of fresh mint and dill, though fresh parsley, cilantro and chives are all great options. Use at least 2 different herbs for the best flavor.
- Canned white beans: I like cannellini or navy beans but black eyed peas or chickpeas (or a mix) are also fantastic. Make sure you rinse and drain the beans well.
- Pepper flakes: Urfa pepper (my newest ingredient obsession) is delicious in this salad. If you don’t have Urfa pepper, you can buy it online, or use crushed red pepper flakes. Urfa pepper is much more mild than red pepper flakes, so if you use red pepper flakes start with just ¼ teaspoon and adjust from there.
Marinate the Shallots
Raw shallots are pretty potent and their aftertaste tends to hang around for a bit. Because of that, I like to briefly marinate or “pickle” them in an acid—vinegar or citrus juice—before tossing them into a salad. This short stint in acid decreases their potency without requiring any cooking.
Plus, most salads desperately need acid, so this is a great trick for getting two things done with one ingredient.
How to Serve White Bean Salad
- Serve as a side dish with pan-seared scallops or vegan trumpet mushroom scallops.
- Enjoy alongside pan-seared chicken breast or pan seared salmon.
- Spoon the beans over chopped lettuce and enjoy with a piece of crusty bread or toasted Nut and Seed Bread.
FAQs & Test Kitchen Tips
This salad is perfect for meal prep, it can be made, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.
Thinly sliced celery or English cucumber are both delicious, as are 1-inch pieces of blanched green beans. I also love adding pitted castelvetrano olives or capers. For some brightness consider adding some grated lemon zest.
You can definitely make this with dry beans. Cook them as you normally would then measure out about 1 ⅓ cup beans.
Simple White Bean Salad
- ½ large shallot, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup finely chopped tender herbs, such as mint and dill (parsley, cilantro and chives also work)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed (cannellini beans, navy beans, black eyed pear and/or chickpeas all work)
- ½ –1 teaspoon pepper flakes of choice, such as urfa pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine shallot, vinegar and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl; let sit 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine herbs with oil to coat.
- Add beans, pepper flakes and shallot-vinegar mixture; toss gently to combine and season with salt and additional pepper flakes to taste.