White Bean Salad

5 from 61 votes

This white bean salad is light, refreshing and comes together quickly for meal prep. It's made with simple pantry ingredients and tossed in a lemon dressing

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This White Bean Salad comes together quickly and easily with just a handful of ingredients. It’s great for meal prep, high in protein and is made with pantry staple ingredients. Finished in a simple lemon dressing for a fresh and vibrant side, it’s a white bean salad that you can customize based on what you have on hand.

White bean salad in a white bowl with a spoon
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This white bean salad is so good! It’s a recipe that I often make. It’s not only packed with nutrients and a variety of flavors and textures but it’s also made with affordable pantry staples, so it’s a great addition to my meal prep routine. 

I just made this white bean salad (literally an hour ago), and it is delicious! Even my six-year-old loved it.Erica

Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American

Primary Cooking Method: Mixing

Dietary Info: Vegan, Gluten-Free

Key Flavor: Earthy, tangy, and herbal

Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • Nutrient-Dense: This White bean salad is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Even the herbs add antioxidants, and the lemon olive oil dressing is full of vitamin C and healthy fats. 
  • Convenient: This salad uses canned beans, and making it is a simple matter of mixing the ingredients together. Even the dressing comes together in a couple of minutes. 
  • Versatile: Serve this white bean salad as-is for a delicious vegan side or main dish, or add cooked chicken or seafood for more flavor and texture. 
  • Cost-Effective: Every ingredient in this salad and its dressing are simple, budget-friendly items.
The ingredients being mixed together in a bowl

Ingredients for this Vegan White Bean Salad

  • White beans: High in protein and a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, white beans are the main ingredient of this dish. Drain and rinse them, and they are ready to use. There are three varieties of white beans that work here: Great Northern beans, navy beans, or white kidney beans (also called cannellini beans).
  • Onions: I use red onions that are mild in taste without being overpowering when they’re fresh. They add a lot of flavor to the salad.
  • Parsley and Cilantro: The combination of parsley and cilantro adds a lemony, peppery, pungent flavor with a touch of earthiness that pairs well with the beans.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add natural sweetness and brightness that complement the zesty flavors of the onion and herbs.
  • Olive Oil Lemon Dressing: The olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic work together to create a fresh, bright flavor profile with a hint of earthy bite from the fresh garlic. 
  • Salt and Pepper: The classic seasoning combination for almost all recipes. Salt accentuates the other flavors in the dressing, while the pepper adds a slight warmth.
The white bean salad ingredients in glass bowls
  • Choose from three white bean options: Great Northern Beans, navy beans, and white kidney beans are all excellent white bean options for this salad.
  • Make a mixed bean salad: Combine all three white beans or add any of your other favorite canned beans for more flavor.
  • Add other veggies for more flavor: Cucumber or zucchini are great additions to the bean salad. You can also serve your bean salad over a bed of your favorite leafy greens.
  • Change the onions to change the flavor: You can drastically change the flavor of your bean salad by changing the onions you use. Red, white, and yellow onions range from sharp to mellow in that order, while sweet onions have a sweeter, more mellow flavor.
  • Change up your herbs: While this particular recipe uses parsley and cilantro, herbs such as coriander, oregano, and basil work well in this salad. 
  • Add a little heat: A pinch of red pepper adds a nice touch of heat to the bean salad. 
  • Make it a Tex-Mex salad: Substitute the lemon dressing with salsa to create a Tex-Mex bean salad variation. 

How to Make a White Bean Salad

  1. Mix all the white bean salad ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over the plated salad, and enjoy!
The salad and dressing ready to be tossed

Love the use of parsley and cilantro together with cherry tomatoes to this white bean salad. Super. – Anastasia

Tips for Making the Best White Bean Salad

  1. Be sure to drain and rinse the beans before using them. The liquid is starchy and salty so you want to rinse as much of it off as possible.
  2. Use fresh herbs in this recipe for the best tasting dish. It really lifts the dish, though in a pinch you can use dried. Chop the herbs finely so that they combine well with the other ingredients.
  3. Don’t add the tomatoes until serving. You can make and dress the rest of the salad ahead of time, but cut the tomatoes just before serving so that they don’t dry out. This goes for any other fresh soft vegetables you’re adding like cucumbers or lettuce.
  4. Make the dressing in the same bowl as the salad. If you’re serving the white bean salad salad immediately, whisk the dressing first in the large bowl, then add the ingredients and toss everything together. There’s less dishes to wash that way…you’re welcome 😉

What to Serve with White Bean Salad

White bean salad really shines when it comes to versatility. On its own, it’s a hearty vegan main course. However, you can also serve it as a side dish with a wide variety of meat main dishes, as well. 

How to Store Vegan White Bean Salad

For maximum freshness, transfer any leftover bean salad and dressing to separate, air-tight containers and store them in the refrigerator for three to five days. 

How long will vegan white bean salad last in the fridge? 

This white bean salad and dressing will last for three to five days in the refrigerator in air-tight containers. Always store the salad and the dressing in separate containers. This keeps the beans firm and the vegetables crisp for as long as possible. 

Can I freeze white bean salad? 

You can freeze this white bean salad without the dressing or the tomatoes. Place the salad in an appropriately sized, air-tight, freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag with as much air removed as possible, then freeze the salad for up to three months. Place it in the refrigerator for one to two days to fully defrost and enjoy.  

Frequently asked questions

Can you use dried white beans?

I use canned beans as the are easy, convenient and ready to use. You can use dried beans, but you will have to cook them first so that they are soft. Check out this post to learn how to cook dried beans.

What white beans are best to use?

I use cannellini beans in this recipe, which are also called white kidney beans. Great Northern beans or navy beans will also work well. This recipe is adaptable though, and it would work with other canned beans like red kidney, pinto and even chickpeas.

 What’s the best way to drain and rinse canned beans?

Canned beans should be poured into a strainer and then rinsed under cold water until it runs clear. Draining the beans in a strainer helps eliminate the possibility of accidentally smashing them. 

Close up of a spoon in the white bean salad

This white bean salad is a great side dish, but it’s also perfect for easy-to-grab healthy lunches. Make a batch today and enjoy it throughout the week. At its base, it simply couple cans of beans tossed in a light and fresh dressing. Dress it up how you like, or keep it simple and satisfying as is.

More white bean recipes

More salad recipes

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White Bean Salad

This white bean salad is light, refreshing and comes together quickly for meal prep. It's made with simple pantry ingredients and tossed in a lemon dressing
5 from 61 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Calories 372
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
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Ingredients
  

  • 2 15- ounce can white beans drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Dressing

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, place the prepared white beans, tomatoes, onions, parsley and cilantro.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  • When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.

Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container. It will last about 3-5 days in the fridge. For best results, only add the tomatoes immediately before serving.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However the salad itself is very adaptable so feel free to add or change any of the ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 22mg, Potassium: 1033mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 375IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 160mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Salad

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Comments

  1. kendall says:

    What can I use in the place of the parsley. Hate it!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      You could use basil, cilantro, or even arugula!

  2. Amira says:

    Soaking dry white beans now! Can’t wait to meal prep this for yummy grab and go lunches!

  3. Reem says:

    Do I need to boil the beans first (like we do with foul)?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Reem, you do not need to boil the beans. You can use them directly from the can after rinsing. Enjoy!

  4. Becky says:

    I love the bean salad! What would you suggest as an extra ingredient here that would compliment the salad? I’d like to
    add something more to it.
    Thanks

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! You can really play around with it and add whatever you’d like. You could also serve this with a protein like my Grilled Lemon Chicken!

  5. Alex Toledo says:

    My husband loves this salad. Thanks

    1. Yumna J. says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Most welcome!

  6. Erica says:

    I just made this white bean salad (literally an hour ago) and it is delicious! Even my six year old loved it.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I’m so glad to hear that and even your 6 year old loved it – wow! Thank you!!

  7. Anastasia says:

    Love the use of parsley and cilantro together with cherry tomatoes to this white bean salad. Super.