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Italian White Bean Salad

$4.41 Recipe/$1.10 Serving

White bean Italian salad is the perfect summertime salad! Easy to make, no cooking required, this Italian white bean salad will be perfect for a light lunch or dinner or as a side dish for cookouts, picnics or weeknight meals.

Vegan cannellini bean salad with fresh basil leaves on top in a white bowl.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Italian white bean salad is so easy to make and you are going to love how filling it is! All the ingredients are easy to find and if you have fresh herbs growing in your garden, it’s very budget friendly.
  • Great for parties, cookouts and picnics! Because there is no mayo or creamy sauce to this salad, it’s perfect at room temperature or cold. This white bean Italian salad is also a great option to serve for vegans, vegetarians or anyone that is gluten free or dairy free!
  • Very versatile and simple to make. You can add whatever ingredients you love to make this salad your own! Add some extra protein or healthy fats to make it more filling.
Ingredients to make italian white bean salad.
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Ingredients

  • Lemon juice – the lemon juice provides a nice bright acidic touch to balance out the oil and create a vinaigrette.
  • Olive oil – olive oil helps to coat the beans and creates a nice dressing for the salad.
  • Dijon mustard – this helps to emulsify the dressing (make it thick) and adds flavor to the dish.
  • Spices: Italian seasoning, Garlic powder, Salt – these simple pantry ingredients help to create delicious Italian dressing.
  • White beans – use whatever your favorite white beans are. I love cannellini beans but you could also use great northern white beans, navy beans, chickpeas or even giant lima beans.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes – these make for a beautiful presentation and are easy to cut up. You could also use a large heirloom tomato or roma tomato, just be sure to cut it into small pieces and remove excess seeds.
  • Fresh basil – fresh basil is so easy to grow in the summer time so it’s easy to always have on hand. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can use other fresh herbs like flat leaf parsley or fresh thyme.

How to make Italian white bean salad

Start by making the dressing in the bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard and spices in the bottom of a bowl. Whisk well to incorporate.

Before and after combining the italian dressing ingredients.

Rinse and drain the white beans. Add the white beans to the bowl with the dressing.

Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters depending on how large they are. Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the white beans.

Gently stir the salad, as you don’t want to mash the beans as you are incorporating everything.

Right before serving, chop up the fresh basil and sprinkle it on top of the salad. Stir one more time before serving.

2 bowls with white bean salad, one before stirring and the other after adding basil.
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Top tips

  • Fresh basil can quickly turn black so it should be added right before serving if possible. I also find that tearing the basil (instead of cutting it with a knife) can help to keep the edges from turning black.
  • Be careful when stirring the salad. White beans are a bit fragile so use care when stirring the salad to incorporate the dressing.
  • Great for meal prep! This salad is great to double or triple and make ahead of time. If you can, wait to add the fresh basil until right before serving. If you want to make the entire salad ahead of time, use chopped parsley or fresh thyme in place of the basil.
  • Best if you can make this Italian white bean salad ahead of time and allow it to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour to let all the flavors come together. When you take the salad out to serve it, tear the fresh basil over top.
Vegan cannellini bean salad on a white plate with a white napkin with basil and tomatoes in the background

To make this salad more filling

  • Protein: sprinkle with hemp hearts, balsamic tofu, Italian chicken, balsamic chicken, salmon, shrimp, canned tuna or canned salmon.
  • Veggies: sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, cucumbers, bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), quick steamed green beans, cauliflower rice, artichoke hearts, heart of palm, zucchini noodles.
  • Fats: olives, nuts (walnuts or pistachios would be really good on this salad), cheese (feta would be great if not vegan), avocado.

To add more flavor to this salad

  • Balsamic vinegar: you could use balsamic vinegar in place of the lemon juice to make this a balsamic white bean salad.
  • Fresh herbs: Along with fresh basil, you can add fresh oregano, mint, flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary.
  • Spice: Add some spice to this salad with crushed red pepper flakes, hot chili oil or cayenne pepper.
Large bowl filled with vegan cannellini bean salad with a white napkin on the side.

What white beans are best for salad

Typically I use cannellini beans for salads, as they are creamy and hold up well to being stirred. Other white beans that would also work well include:

  • Great northern white beans
  • Navy beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Large lima beans

What to serve along side this Italian salad

Small plate of vegan cannellini bean salad with a large bowl of the salad in the background.

How to cook dried white beans in the Instant Pot

Soaking overnight (this allows you to cook the beans fast the next day)

  1. Rinse and sort the beans. Run them under cool water for 1-2 minutes in a mesh strainer and look for any rocks or debris.
  2. In a very large bowl, add the beans and cover them at least 3 inches with filtered water. The beans will soak up a ton of water overnight, so I like to try to add more water than I think they will need. This means you will want at least 3 inches above the beans in water.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar), whatever you have on hand.
  4. Let the beans soak overnight, at least 6-8 hours. I usually let mine soak for 10-12 hours or more.
  5. Rinse the beans in a mesh strainer.
  6. Add the beans to your pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot).
  7. Add enough filtered water to cover the beans (I use a Berkey water filter!).
  8. Pressure cook for 6 minutes on high heat. Let the pressure naturally release.
  9. Carefully drain off the water from cooking, Rinse and store excess beans in the fridge up to 2 days. Alternatively freeze extra cooked beans in 1/2-1 cup servings for easy use (souper cubes are great for this!).

No soak method (this takes about 1 hour total)

  1. Rinse and sort the beans. Run them under cool water for 1-2 minutes in a mesh strainer and look for any rocks or debris.
  2. Add the beans to the insert of your pressure cooker.
  3. For 1 pound of beans, add at least 6 cups of water.
  4. Put the lid on, make sure the vent is set to seal and cook on high pressure for 31 minutes.
  5. Allow the pressure to naturally release.
  6. Carefully drain off the water from cooking, Rinse and store excess beans in the fridge up to 2 days. Freeze beans in 1/2-1 cup servings for easy use.
Overhead shot of the large white bowl filled with vegan cannellini bean salad topped with fresh basil.

Substitutions

  • Lemon juice: You can use 2-3 tbsp. of red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar in place of lemon juice. If you want to change the flavor a bit, you could use balsamic vinegar in place of lemon juice.
  • Olive oil: You can use avocado oil in place of the olive oil if necessary.
  • Italian seasoning: If you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, you can use 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried parsley and ½ tsp. dried oregano.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder is great because the garlic does not take over the dish but instead it helps to add flavor to the dish. You can use fresh garlic (2-3 cloves) but make sure it’s very finely chopped. If you cannot tolerate garlic, you could use roasted garlic olive oil in place of the olive oil above.
  • Salt: Salt helps to elevate the flavor of the dish. If you cannot tolerate salt, use your favorite no-added-salt seasoning.
  • White beans: Use whatever beans you have on hand. You can use cannellini beans, navy beans, great northern white beans, chickpeas or large lima beans. If you don’t have white beans on hand, you can use finely chopped cauliflower.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: these tomatoes are great for presentation and are easy to quickly chop. You can use heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes or any of the veggies listed above.
  • Fresh basil: Fresh basil adds so much flavor and pairs so well with tomatoes

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Overhead shot of bowl of vegan cannellini bean salad in a white bowl with tomatoes and basil around the plate.

Italian White Bean Salad

$4.41 Recipe/$1.10 Serving
Italian white bean salad is so easy to make and ready in about 5 minutes. Perfect for lunch or a light dinner, this is great as a side dish for cookouts, parties or picnics.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cannellini bean salad, italian white bean salad, white bean salad italian
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Juice the lemon into the mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt to the bowl. Stir well with a fork until well combined.
  • Rinse and drain the cannellini beans and add them to the bowl with the dressing.
  • Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Add them to a bowl with the cannellini beans. Carefully stir the beans and tomatoes to not crush the beans.
  • Store the salad in the fridge 30 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to come together.
  • Right before serving, carefully tear the basil leaves into the salad right before serving.

Notes

Other additions to the salad
  • Protein: sprinkle with hemp hearts, balsamic tofu, Italian chicken, salmon, shrimp, canned tuna or canned salmon
  • Veggies: sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, cucumbers, bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), quick steamed green beans, cauliflower rice, artichoke hearts, heart of palm, zucchini noodles.
  • Fats: olives, nuts (walnuts or pistachios would be really good on this salad), cheese (feta would be great if not vegan), avocado.
To add more flavor to this salad
  • Balsamic vinegar: you could use balsamic vinegar in place of the lemon juice to make this a balsamic white bean salad.
  • Fresh herbs: Along with fresh basil, you can add fresh oregano, mint, flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary.
  • Spice: Add some spice to this salad with crushed red pepper flakes, hot chili oil or cayenne pepper.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Wait until serving to add the basil for the best color and flavor. 
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
301
Fat
 
4
g
Carbohydrates
 
52
g
Fiber
 
12
g
Sugar
 
2
g
Protein
 
17
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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