Easy Mediterranean White Bean Salad

This Mediterranean white bean salad is fresh, bright, light, vegan and comes together in five minutes, not to mention crazy cheap to make, a one-bowl recipe and is super-filling.

It only needs eight easy-to-find ingredients and is so easy to make I debated whether I should bother doing a post on it or not, but the crazy raving reviews I got while testing it convinced me to put it up.

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. It’s also great as a tapa on crackers or mini-toasts, as an easy baked potato filling or as part of a lovely large salad plate.

I wouldn’t say no to it with a side of 15-minute garlic bread (the best ever, I swear) or a large spinach and sweet potato salad with some spicy Whole30 balsamic mustard dressing either.

Although this only takes a few minutes to come together, be warned it is pretty much 100% obligatory that you leave it to chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Preferably overnight if at all possible. Freshly made it tastes nice, but well rested and chilled it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Close up of a white bean salad on a blue dish on a blue tablecloth

The longer it chills, the more magically melded the flavours become. The sauce thickens and becomes creamy from the starch released by the beans, and the garlic and onion mellow and flavour the mix.

Where is it from?

For the last 14 years I have been living in Valencia, Bangalore and Madrid. I have had a version of this salad a few times as a tapa in the odd restaurant here in Spain but it’s not wildly popular in the areas I have lived in where more meat-based dishes are popular.

However, keep in mind that bean dishes, in general, are not super popular in Spain, apart from Spanish lentils or cocido, stews which have a ton of meat added in.

I have seen a few recipes here for ensalada de alubias blancas (white bean salad), but they do tend to include fish.

Which beans should I use?

If you’re a brave, intrepid, and thrifty soul you can pressure cook some white beans.

White bean salad in a blue bowl with a spoon on a silver tray sitting on a blue tablecloth

Personally I rarely pressure cook smaller white beans such as cannelini or kidney beans unless I’m cooking them in a curry or stew(more flavour infusion), as it’s so hard to get the texture right (gritty and undercooked one minute, mush the next!).

You can use either:

  • Cannelini beans
  • Butter beans
  • Navy beans
  • Great Northern Beans

I use jarred beans as I don’t really have any other options in the shops here, but canned beans would be better. Canned beans tend to hold their shape better than jarred beans, which are a little mushy (still tasty though!).

I personally prefer smaller white beans such as cannellini as they absorb the delicious dressing better.

How do you make this salad?

Mediterranean white bean salad? Really easily. It’s pretty much a non-recipe and impossible to get wrong unless you make substitutions.

Drain and rinse your beans well and add them to a container (something that will fit in your fridge easily and can be covered). Chop the onions, pepper and tomato finely and add them to the bowl.

A plate with white beans, diced red and green peppers, onion and garlic

Add the crushed garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Mix well, being careful not to mash the beans. Place in the fridge to chill for at least an one-hour.

Done! See? I told you it was easy!

Freshly made Mediterranean White Bean Salad in a bowl with a spoon

A word to the wise – do not be tempted to add more garlic or onion. If you taste this Mediterranean white bean salad when freshly made, you won’t really be able to taste the garlic, but after an hour in the fridge, the flavour is much stronger.

While substitution in recipes is great, do be precise with the olive oil, vinegar, and salt in this one. I have experimented with different amounts and combinations, and this is the best one.

If you want a lighter version, you can halve the oil and vinegar and keep the rest of the ingredients the same, but be warned that the flavour will be much milder it just won’t be as good. Splurge!).

Two-thirds of my taste-testing team preferred the regular version, while one third preferred the lighter one. As it is, the regular version only contains 180 calories per serving!

If you can’t find red wine vinegar you can substitute with 2 tbsp balsamic and 3 tbsp white wine vinegar. It will still be tasty but not as tasty as with red wine vinegar. You could even try with apple cider vinegar (I haven’t) but do not use malt vinegar, it has way to harsh a flavour profile.

White beans mixed with fresh salad ingredients on a blue dish on a blue tablecloth

This salad makes six servings as part of a meal or as an appetizer and will keep in the fridge for about five days (perfect for meal-prepping!).

This Mediterranean white bean salad is a regular in my household, I usually add it as a side, or in spring and summer have it as part of a salad platter.

Handsome husband is partial to eating a big pile of it with soda bread. He is not vegan and also says that crumbling some feta over it to serve also really elevates the flavours.

It’s the perfect complement to meal-prepping some healthy lunches and is also an amazing barbecue side dish. It’s also fairly packed with protein.

How will you eat yours? Let me know in the comments below. And if you make it, I’d love to see how it turned out!

You can tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian).

¬°Buen provecho y bon profit!

Yield: 6

Easy Mediterranean White Bean Salad

Easy Mediterranean White Bean Salad

This tasty white bean Mediterranean style salad is vegan, nutritious, filling, full of fibre, and comes together in five minutes. It's probably the easiest dish you'll make all year. Serve it with plenty of crusty bread for dipping in the luscious simple olive oil dressing, and enjoy! 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14oz (400g) white beans, drained weight
  • 1/2medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 green pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the beans (canned is better but jarred will do.)
  2. Finely chop the onion, pepper and tomatoes, add to the beans.
  3. Pour in the oil and vinegar.
  4. Add the crushed garlic and salt. Mix well.
  5. Chill for at least one hour. Serve with other salads and/or crusty bread for a filling main dish, or on toasts for a tapa-style appetizer.

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 146Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 344mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 3g

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