This Italian Tuscan bean salad is perfect for any season, but we especially love it in the summer months. The creamy and bold flavors of the cannellini beans, garlic, and red onions are perfect for a hot summer day.
It’s a delicious and healthy salad to bring to any potluck or picnic.
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Reasons to Love White Bean Salad
- Perfect Italian salad for any season, thanks to the bold flavors.
- Because there are no greens and it has a light vinaigrette dressing, you don’t have to worry about the lettuce wilting or the dressing spoiling in the heat.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lemon juice – adds brightness and acidity to the dressing. You will need about 1 lemon to get ¼ cup of lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice is highly recommended for this recipe.
- Dijon mustard – helps emulsify the dressing and adds a slight tang.
- Garlic – adds an earthy bite to the dressing and pairs perfectly with Tuscan vegetables.
- Dried Italian seasoning – adds a subtle herbal flavor to the creamy dressing. You can also use fresh herbs if you have them on hand.
- Thyme – adds a bright herby flavor and pairs well with lemon. If you don’t have fresh thyme, feel free to swap it for parsley.
- Extra virgin olive oil – adds substance and richness to the dressing. I recommend high-quality, flavorful olive oil.
- Beans – For this recipe, we use canned cannellini beans. They’re a quick shortcut, and they’re delicious. You can use any other small white bean if you want. Just be sure to drain and rinse them very well.
Cannellini beans are a type of white kidney bean that is common in Tuscan cuisine. This variety is larger than other types of white beans, like Lima and Navy, and the consistency is very creamy.
- Vegetables – We use Persian cucumbers (they’re a seedless variety) and cherry tomatoes, as they add freshness and crunch to the salad.
Another seedless cucumber that may be easier to find is English cucumbers. You’ll find them in the regular produce section of most stores, and they’re easy to identify because they are almost always sold individually, wrapped in plastic.
As for the tomatoes , diced heirlooms, or Roma tomatoes are good options as well.
- Feta – adds a creamy, salty flavor to the salad. If you want a vegan version, you can leave this out. For a little extra flavor, you can use marinated feta.
- Chopped parsley and flakey sea salt – for garnish, but totally optional.
Recipe Tips for the Best Bean Salad
- Use fresh herbs for a brighter flavor.
This isn’t completely necessary, but the flavor difference between fresh and dried herbs is eye-opening!
- Whisk the oil into the dressing very slowly.
You want to add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Otherwise, it may not fully incorporate, and you’ll have an oily consistency rather than a creamy one.
Add the beans, sliced cucumbers, and halved tomatoes to the dressing. Stir to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
Top the salad with crumbled feta cheese. You can also add chopped parsley and flakey sea salt if desired. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a gluten-free and dairy-free salad, the Panera green goddess salad is a great option. If you are looking for a tasty pasta salad, you’ll definitely want to check out our recipe for zesty Italian pasta salad!
White Bean Salad Recipe FAQ
No, you don’t have to cook them. Just make sure to rinse them well first.
Although the flavors of most white beans are similar, each variety has a unique texture and size.
Tuscan Bean Salad
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic, grated or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon fresh minced thyme
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cans (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (can substitute any white beans)
- 1 Persian cucumbers sliced into half moons
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 ounces crumbled feta
- Chopped parsley and flakey sea salt for garnish
- Add the lemon juice, dijon mustard, grated garlic, italian seasoning, and thyme to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the olive oil slowly, whisking as you pour. Continue whisking until the dressing is fully emulsified and slightly opaque. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cannellini beans, sliced cucumbers, and halved tomatoes to the bowl. Stir to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
- Top the salad with crumbled feta and enjoy. Garnish with chopped parsley and flakey sea salt, if desired.
- Lemon adds brightness and acidity to the dressing. Fresh lemon juice is highly recommended– 1 lemon should yield about ¼ cup of lemon juice.
- Dijon helps emulsify the vinaigrette and adds a slight tang.
Garlic adds an earthy bite to the vinaigrette and pairs perfectly with Tuscan vegetables.
- Italian seasoning adds a subtle herbal flavor to the vinaigrette.
- Fresh thyme adds a bright herby flavor and pairs well with lemon. If you don’t have fresh thyme, feel free to swap it for parsley.
- Olive oil adds substance and richness to the vinaigrette. I recommend a good quality, flavorful olive oil.
- Cannellini beans are great in this recipe– I’m using canned beans because it’s a quick shortcut, and they’re delicious. You can use any small white bean in this recipe. Just make sure to drain and rinse them very well.
- Cucumbers add freshness and crunch to the salad. I like the size and texture of Persian cucumbers but English or regular cucumbers would work too.
- Tomatoes add a fresh pop to the salad– I like cherry tomatoes but diced heirloom or Roma would work too.
- Feta adds a creamy, salty flavor to the salad. For a vegan salad, feel free to omit it!