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! Head over to the Quick Healthy Recipes page for more great ideas.
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This tuscan white bean salad one of our favorite salads, is very simple to make, 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 consists of one, two, or three salads and to increase the amount of protein, I include a bean salad. With it's flavors of garlic, basil, balsamic and the pop of dried tomatoes and other vegetables, this salad tops the list.
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 and easy it was!). This also keeps really well, making it a good option for meal prepping and for taking on camping trips.
Make Tuscan White Bean Salad
The ingredients you'll need to make this white bean salad are often pantry staples:
- White beans: Great Northern, Cannellini, or Navy (If using dry beans , you can cook and freeze them anytime according to the method I discussed here to be ready to use in this and other recipes.)
- Dried tomatoes in oil (or homemade dried tomatoes like this) - if using tomatoes not packed in oil, rehydrate them in water first.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil (the oil from the tomatoes is best)
- Roasted red peppers
- Fresh basil, garlic, and Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese
I used Great Northern white beans, cooked and frozen according to the method I shared here, but any of the white beans listed above will work. You can use canned beans or cook the beans right before assembling the salad. Using dry beans in either of these cooking methods is the way to make it the most budget-friendly and be in total control of the all the ingredients.
3 Cooking Tips For This Recipe (and Other Salads):
1. The first tip is a way to make the dressing (or any homemade vinaigrette) blend easier:
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.
2. Easy way to 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.
- 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 above for chopped onions, or thinner slices for diced onions.
- 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!
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.
3. How to cut the basil in strips 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 salads like this.
Now - onto the salad! After your ingredients are prepped, you mix the dressing and pour it over the bean mixture, stirring well. Add about 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and mix and season with salt and pepper. That's it.
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.
Like I mentioned, this salad is actually better as it sits, making it perfect to make ahead for potlucks, parties, and camping trips. It's a great combo - easy and SO delicious!
Tuscan White Bean Salad
- 4 cups cooked white beans*
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely sliced fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 4 large cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup grated Romano Parmesan, or Asiago cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- Combine the beans, onion, pepper, dried tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a large bowl.
- Mix the oil and vinegar until thoroughly combined. Pour over bean mixture, add half of the cheese and stir well. Add salt and pepper, tasting to adjust seasonings.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining cheese and a whole or chopped basil leaf, if you'd like.
More Easy Salads You May Like:
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This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in 2009. Enjoy!