This Mediterranean white bean salad is fresh, bright, light, vegetarian (or easily made vegan), and comes together in minutes. A healthy one-bowl filling recipe, perfect as a side or to bring to barbecues!
Serve as part of a selection of salads, with some crusty white bread (try my easy homemade bread recipe) to mop up the delicious sauce.
Or go deluxe with this as a main with a side of 15-minute garlic bread (the best ever, I swear) or as part of a spread alongside a spinach and sweet potato salad with some spicy Whole30 balsamic mustard dressing.
Why you’ll love it:
- It’s super easy to make.
- It’s very tasty with simple flavors.
- It can easily be tweaked to suit your own preferences.
- It’s kid-approved!
Ingredients and substitutions
This is a really easy recipe, and there are a few substitutions you can make if you don’t have the exact ingredients to hand or prefer different ones. Check out the picture below to see what you should be starting with, and scroll to see possible substitutions written under the photo.
Fresh herbs: You can use any fresh herb you like here, basil is my favorite, and parsley is also good if you like it.
Cannellini beans: Use any type of cooked small white beans, just skip the big ones as they won’t absorb the dressing well.
Olives: I use green stoned olives here but black stoned olives are also great and give better contrast for a tasty visual, especially if entertaining.
Vinegar: I based this recipe on a tasty Spanish salad I enjoy so I use red wine vinegar, which is a typical vinegar used where I live in Madrid. White wine vinegar is also great, and if you don’t have that you can use any mild vinegar (like apple cider vinegar) with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Garlic: Crushed garlic is great when chilled with the luscious dressing, don’t substitute for ground, and use a large clove. If you don’t have a garlic crusher you can chop the garlic and work it into the dressing with a mortar and pestle.
Salt: Use the amount given (or a low-sodium substitute) and don’t taste and adjust for salt until your yummy salad has chilled for at least an hour (it will taste totally different).
Feta: Use feta crumbled into big pieces or medium dice, otherwise the texture will get a little lost in the sauce. If you don’t like or don’t have feta you can leave it out or use crumbled goats cheese instead. Id you’re vegan just omit or try it with my vegan goat cheese.
Bell pepper: Use green or red, whichever you prefer.
Olive oil: Use a good quality extra virgin or fruity olive oil. Don’t substitute with any other oil.
Onion: I used red onion as it’s on the milder side but you can use regular yellow onion if you prefer a stronger bite, or the white parts of green or spring onions, or even shallots.
Tomatoes: Use ripe firm tomatoes or substitute with chopped cherry tomatoes, about 6-8 cherry tomatoes per tomato.
Use black kalamata olives, add a cup of chopped cucumber and a teaspoon of dried oregano, and use green bell pepper.
Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, use black olives, use sun-dried tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes, and add mozzarella balls and lots of fresh basil.
Add leftover cooked pasta, between one-two cups based on your preference, and two tablespoons of mayonnaise. You’ll want to add an extra clove of crushed garlic as well.
Omit the herbs, olives, and feta, and serve with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the juices.
How to make it
Just a bit of chopping and this hearty salad will come together in minutes. I’ve included in-depth instructions and some process photos below in case you have any doubts.
Whether your beans are homemade, canned, or jarred, rinse and drain them well and add them to a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the pepper onion and (deseeded) tomatoes and add as well. Thinly slice the olives and add too, along with the salt and (pressed) garlic.
if you don’t have a garlic press, chop the garlic and add along with the oil and vinegar to a mortar and pestle and grind until smooth.
Now add the dressing ingredients on top (image one below, the olive oil and vinegar). No need to premix the dressing.
Next, mix the salad well. Roughly chop or cube the feta and add on top (image two).
Gently toss until the feta is well distributed (image three below).
Finely chop the basil or herbs you’re using and add. Toss the salad to mix in the herbs, cover, and remove to the fridge for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve and enjoy!
This salad can be kept tightly covered in the fridge for up to five days and get’s better the longer it sits.
No, the beans change texture as do the other fresh veggies and it’s not nice once defrosted.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, review, and/or comment below.
- 14oz (400g) white beans, drained weight
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 bell pepper (green or red), chopped finely
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
- 1/2 cup stoned black olives
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- Feta, 1/3 cup, crumbled or chopped (65g)
- Large handful fresh herbs (preferably basil,or parsley)
- Drain and rinse the beans and add to a large bowl.
- Finely chop the onion, pepper, and tomatoes, and add to the beans.
- Slice the olives and add.
- Pour in the oil and vinegar, and add the crushed garlic and salt. Mix well.
- Crumble the feta (in large pieces) or roughly chop and add. toss gently to avoid breaking up the feta.
- Finely chop the herbs and add, toss gently.
- Chill for at least one hour. and then serve.
I prefer cannellini or navy beans for this recipe but you can also use butter beans or Great Northern beans.
If you don't have red wine vinegar you can substitute with 2 tbsp balsamic and 3 tbsp white wine vinegar.
Amount Per Serving Calories 179Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 7mgSodium 485mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 4g