White Bean Salad

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This fabulous Mediterranean-inspired White Bean Salad is an easy, healthy side dish or salad you’ll totally love! Tender cannellini beans are marinated in a flavorful garlic and shallot dressing tossed with colorful bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

If you love this type of salad, you need to try my other creations that also have that Mediterranean flair. My Bulgur Salad is nutty and refreshing, the Quinoa Salad is light yet filling, and my easy Chickpea Salad is all about the flavors and textures.

overhead shot of a salad bowl with cannellini beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, and a spoon set inside the right bottom side of the bowl.


When we talk about salads, it’s easy to picture a classic garden salad with vibrant lettuce and colorful toppings, isn’t it? But let me tell you, there’s a whole world of salads out there waiting to be explored! Take this easy white bean salad recipe of mine, for example. It’s a delicious mix of cannellini beans, along with a variety of tasty and fresh vegetables and aromatics. Not only does it make a flavorful light lunch or a great side dish, but it can also stand out as an appetizer or even a satisfying main course.

To make things even easier, we are using canned beans to make this refreshing salad. From there, all you have to do is blanch them, soak them, and let the salad rest for a bit before serving; that way, the flavors will have a chance to meld and blend.

overhead shot of a salad bowl with cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, and bell peppers.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This vibrant bean salad recipe combines simple ingredients to create a refreshing and delicious dish. Below, you’ll find all you need to make this salad. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements and complete directions.

  • Olive Oil: A little bit for cooking the garlic, and a bit more for the dressing.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced is best, but you could also use minced garlic from a jar. 
  • Cannellini Beans: Two cans, well rinsed and thoroughly drained. If you prefer to use dried beans, you could pre-cook them the day before.
  • Vinegar: Red wine vinegar is great in this recipe, but you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
  • Lemon Juice: Again, fresh is preferred, but bottled would be fine.
  • Shallot: Peel and mince a small shallot. 
  • Bell Pepper: Wash and cut a small red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper into ¼-inch pieces. Green or orange bell pepper will also work.
  • Tomatoes: I like to use quartered cherry tomatoes, but you could use any kind of tomato cut into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Fresh Basil and Fresh Parsley: The fresh herbs add a sweet, herbal, and peppery fragrance. If you need to use dried herbs, they will still taste good, just not quite as zesty.

What Kind of Beans Can I Use?

You can substitute just about any bean variety in this recipe. If you’re looking for a substitute that’s similar to cannellini beans, great northern beans are probably your best bet. But garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), baby lima beans, black-eyed peas, and all kinds of other tasty beans would also work.

How to Make White Bean Salad

This simple bean salad is so flavorful and well-textured, with cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and shallots. Then there’s that delicious oil and vinegar dressing that you’ll want to sprinkle over everything!

  1. Cook the Garlic. Set a skillet pan over medium heat and add a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil. Let the oil heat, and then add the garlic. Cook it for a bit, letting it turn golden. Be extremely careful not to burn it, as burned garlic tastes very bitter. 
  2. Heat the Beans. Add the rinsed and drained beans into the saucepan, along with two cups of water. Sprinkle with salt, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat off and let the beans stand for 15 minutes, covered.
  3. Make the Dressing. While the beans soak, whisk the rest of the olive oil with the vinegar, lemon juice, and shallots. Let the dressing stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Assemble the Salad. Drain the beans and place them in a bowl with the dressing. Stir in the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Rest. Let the salad rest for 20 to 30 minutes longer before you serve it.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Cook the beans. The secret to this recipe is lightly cooking the beans. This really brings out their best flavor and helps them taste freshly-made instead of canned.
  • Let it rest. This salad really comes into its own if you let it sit for about 30 minutes—this gives all those wonderful flavors a chance to blend together beautifully. Feel free to make it the night before, too! Just cover it and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy.
  • Add more veggies: As you can imagine, a Mediterranean white bean salad like this is almost endlessly customizable. You can add chopped celery, cucumber, and even cabbage would work. Artichoke hearts or marinated mushrooms would be spectacular!
  • Add cheese: Crumbled feta, cubed cheddar, little fresh mozzarella balls – anything would work here, and would be amazing.
close up overhead shot of a salad bowl with cannellini beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, and a spoon set inside the right bottom side of the bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Prepare this salad in advance for a filling meal that works as either a lunch or a side dish to any dinner recipe you serve! If you’d like to add a few other items to the menu, don’t skip these tender Stovetop Chicken Breasts or add crisp Air Fryer Bacon to it! Also, a juicy salad like this cries out for some homemade Lavash Bread to sop up all that goodness. Whole Wheat Focaccia is a nice choice, too.

Storing Instructions

This hardy, but light salad is great for making ahead, because it stays good (in your fridge, of course) for four to five days! Just keep it in an airtight container, and serve cold.

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5 from 3 votes

Mediterranean White Bean Salad

Cannellini beans marinated in a flavorful garlic and shallot dressing, with colorful bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil,, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 2 cans (15-ounces each) cannellini beans,, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot,, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper,, diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper,, diced
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
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  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan (or a high sided pan) set over medium heat.
  • Add garlic to the heated oil and cook for 30 seconds, stirring, until garlic is a golden brown but not burnt.
  • Add beans to the saucepan; stir, and add 2 cups water. Season with salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a large salad bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and shallot. Let stand 15 minutes.
  • Drain the beans and rinse under cold water; then add the beans to the shallot dressing.
  • Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil, parsley, and fresh ground black pepper.
  • Gently toss to combine.
  • Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust.
  • Let salad sit for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve cold.


Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 573IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Allyson Zea says:

    I am going to make this to bring on the boat this weekend! Looks amazing!!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll love it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    You had me on this! I’m excited to try this one!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Wow! Love this salad! So flavorful and refreshing!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! Please enjoy! 🙂

  4. Beth says:

    I have to give this one a try. I love all the flavors here, and I love how healthy it is!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I hope you love it! 🙂