A super easy white bean salad flavored with Tuscan ingredients like olive oil, basil, dried tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. It’s a great potluck option!
This Tuscan White Bean salad one of our favorites and is very simple, plus it uses ingredients I normally have on hand, including tomatoes which I dry from my garden produce each year and keep in olive oil.
Sometimes in the summer I like to plan a meal that is just a couple of salads and in order to increase the amount of protein, I like to include a bean salad. This also makes a great potluck dish. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments when I’ve served it to a crowd (little did they know how inexpensive it was!).
Make Tuscan White Bean Salad
The ingredients you’ll need to make this salad are often pantry staples:
- white beans, of course, (easiest if cooked and frozen according to the method I discussed here)
- dried tomatoes in oil (if using ones not packed in oil, rehydrate them in water first)
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil (the oil from the tomatoes is best)
- chopped roasted red peppers
- fresh basil, garlic, and cheese like Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano.
I used Great Northern white beans, cooked and frozen according to the method I shared here, but any white beans work. You can also use canned beans or cook the beans right before assembling the salad, which would be the way to make it the most budget-friendly and be in control of the all the ingredients.
I also have a couple cooking tips I use with this and other salads:
The first tip is for making the dressing (or any homemade vinaigrette, actually) blend easier:
- To mix, use a small whisk held between your hands and twist the handle back and forth quickly. You’ll be amazed at how it emulsifies the oil and vinegar in seconds, no kitchen appliances needed, and lasts a lot longer than simply shaking in a bottle.
My second tip is how I chop or dice onions. Cutting onions is many people’s least favorite kitchen task (mine is peeling and chopping garlic – ugh), mainly because they can be strong and make your eyes water.
Cutting onions this way vs. the way I was originally taught (cut sections one way down, turn and cut the other way, then put on it’s side and cut slices…) is faster and easier leading to less time for the sulfur to make it’s way to your eyes (or whatever causes the tears…). It’s also safer, because you aren’t dealing with a whole onion – round and slippery doesn’t play well with sharp knives typically.
1. Peel, slice the ends off, and cut the onion in half. Lay one half on it’s side and starting at the ends, cut slices horizontally – bigger slices like pictured for chopped onions, or thinner slices for diced onions.
2. Turn the onion’s root end toward you and slice vertically, holding the slices together as you go creating small onion pieces.
These two cuts utilize the onions natural rings to provide the next ‘cut’ into smaller pieces. Sometimes you need to break them up a bit, but most of the time that happens when you’re mixing them into your dish. I never chop onions any other way now – how do you cut them?
A third tip is how to cut the basil for this salad. Cut the leaves in half if they are large, and then make a pile of them with some smaller leaves. Roll them up as best you can and start slicing them from an end. This makes thin, slightly longer pieces that are nice in this application.
After your ingredients are prepped, mix the dressing and pour over the bean mixture, stirring well. Add about 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and mix and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the salad into a serving bowl or platter (if different from the mixing bowl). Top with the remaining grated cheese and a sprig of basil. This salad is actually better as it sits, making it perfect to make ahead for potlucks, parties, and camping trips.
Easy and SO delicious!
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