This fabulous white bean salad is a savory, protein-packed vegan dream come true. Make it ahead, no cooking required. Also great with tuna.
Why we love this recipe
For years, this recipe has been on heavy rotation in my kitchen. It's virtually always a great option, from school lunches to quick dinners to brunch buffets to "between incidents of minor chaos," as I said when I had younger children and first shared this recipe.
White bean salad:
- Packs a nuanced, savory punch
- Requires zero cooking
- Keeps brilliantly for a week
- Plays well with a wide variety of other dishes, or without
- Thrives as a vegan dish or with the addition of some good-quality canned tuna
I first published this recipe here in 2017. I've since updated the post for clarity and tweaked the method, but the recipe remains essentially the same.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- Cannellini beans are also called white kidney beans. They're mild, creamy, and fairly large. You can substitute any other white beans of your choice. The two cans called for in this recipe equal about 3 ½ cups of cooked beans, from one heaping cup dried. You can of course use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer.
- Sherry vinegar imparts a complex, brooding, acidity to this dish. If you don't have it, you can substitute red wine vinegar — but I encourage you to introduce a bottle of this reasonably priced, versatile ingredient to your pantry when you have the chance. Combined with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, it makes a vibrant, well-rounded dressing.
- Not pictured: This salad is perfect as-is, but if you like, you can add one to two cans of good-quality tuna.
How to make it
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make a great batch of white bean salad. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- First you'll place the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, paprika, and pepper into a large mixing bowl and give it a good stir. Let it sit for five minutes so that the acids have a chance to take some of the bite out of the raw shallot.
- Pour in the olive oil and whisk or stir to create the dressing.
- Add the beans, celery, olives, and parsley.
- Mix well. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Yes! This recipe lends itself beautifully to the addition of one or two cans of good-quality tuna. Just drain it and flake it right into the bowl along with the beans. There's no need to make any further changes to the recipe.
Yes. This recipe keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, so feel free to make it in advance.
More favorite easy bean salads
- 2 15.5-ounce (425-gram) cans white beans, such as Cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery ribs, diced small
- 8 ounces (227 grams) pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 to 2 5-ounce (142-gram) cans tuna, drained
- Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the beans.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the shallot, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt, paprika, and pepper.
- Let sit for five minutes to give the lemon juice and vinegar a chance to take some of the bite out of the shallot.
- Add the olive oil and stir or whisk well to make a dressing.
- Add the beans, celery, olives, parsley, and tuna, if using.
- Stir gently but thoroughly to distribute the ingredients and coat evenly with dressing.
- The two cans of beans called for in this recipe equal about 3 ½ cups of cooked beans, from one heaping cup dried. You can of course use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer.
- If you don’t have sherry vinegar, it’s okay to substitute red wine vinegar.
- This recipe keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, so feel free to make it in advance.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 8.5gCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 20.2gProtein: 20.2g