Summer White Bean Salad

By Sally Cameron on June 06, 2011

beans, legumes & grains, Salads and Dressings, Side Dishes, the daniel plan, vegan, vegetarian,


Summer White Bean Salad

Whether canned or dried, beans are the backbone of any strong pantry. Strong, like silent soldiers, waiting to leap into action to help you create a meal. With a strong pantry you will never go hungry, even when you are too tired to go to the grocery store.

Summer White Bean Salad: Canned Beans vs. Dried

While canned beans are good for certain recipes or when you are short on time, nothing beats a dish started with dried beans.

Soaked overnight and cooked slowly the next day, great are the rewards in flavor for healthy dishes like this simple summer white bean salad. Add a generous amount of fresh chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil and you have a satisfying side dish for grilled chicken, shrimp, pork or beef.

Rancho Gordo Beans

It wasn’t until I discovered Rancho Gordo that I really began to cook with dried beans.

Based in Napa, California, Rancho Gordo brings high quality heirloom dried beans to market. Beans that are grown in limited quantities. Beans that have better flavor and texture than your generic super market dried beans. Beans that are fresh. Once I tried their bean varieties, dried beans became a constant in my pantry. My favorite and the one I can’t live without? Cannellini beans.

Bean Update – Alubia Blanca or Marcella

Rancho Gordo no longer sells cannellini beans. Great substitutes are the Alubia Blanca, and the Marcella

Cannellini Beans (And Other Options)

Big, white, creamy-tender pillows, Cannellini beans (see option above) are very versatile. I use them in soups, salads, stews and side dishes with wonderful results. Cannellini beans are good for you and an inexpensive source of protein. If you are vegetarian or vegan, these beans are your “meat”.

Soak Beans at Bedtime, Cook the Next Day

For this white bean salad, start the beans soaking before you go to bed. The next day, cook them and finish the salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lots of fresh herbs and a little olive oil. Sometimes I add crumbled feta cheese or Parmesan.

Serving Ideas

Sometimes I serve them as a side dish. Sometimes I just have a small bowl as a healthy afternoon snack. For dinner, I’ll top with my beans with grilled chicken or shrimp. Cannellini beans are incredibly versatile.

Once you understand the simplicity of cooking dried beans, they will become a canvas for many wonderful dishes in your kitchen. Make them what you want.

SHORT CUT NOTE – to short cut this recipe when you just don’t have time to start with dried beans, use 3 – 15 ounce (425 gram) cans of organic Cannellini beans. Rinse and drain first, then use.

Other Helpful Links

These beans go great with Grilled Lemon Mint Chicken

Fold in some Roast Baby Tomatoes with Thyme for wonderful flavor and color

Cannellini bean recipes, from Simply Recipes

Crockpot Recipe for Cannellini Bean Stew with Parmesan, from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Simple instructions for preparing beans, by Rancho Gordo


Leave a Comment
Dr. Patrick Mahaney | June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

This looks like an enhanced (i.e. much better) version of what I have made in the past as an “easy” summer salad. I can’t wait to try it and will let you know how it turns out for me (and Phil).

Debbie Spangler | June 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I love summer (and winter) bean salads and will add your version to my client menus. I love the idea of topping with shrimp 🙂

Sarah | July 5, 2011 at 2:04 am

This was DELICIOUS!! I had to make a few alterations based what I had on hand (no celery so just celery seed, and allergic to regular onions so I used green onions including part of the tops). I LOVED it, my husband did too. We are thinking of also using the dressing as just a regular salad dressing too. I also did cut down on the olive oil b/c I like my dressings closer to half and half or they are too oily to me.
Thanks for the recipe, it is officially a new favorite!

Fran | August 6, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Ah! I checked in too late! I pulled out a container of cranberry beans last night and soaked them, no knowing what I was going to do with them.

I boiled them up this morning and thew in a jalapeño and diced onion. Just a little while ago I pulled out a bag of leftover San Marzano tomatoes and some chicken sausage and made some kind of bean dish. I figured it would be a good dinner before my weekly weigh-in, but now that I see your recipe I’d much rather have this light and bright salad!

Well, I’ve got more beans in the pantry. 😉

linda | November 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I cannot find cannellini beans at that rancho Gordo. How do you order them from there if they are not listed? Please put beans in the subject line. This sounds delicious. I love cannellini and all white beans..

    Sally | November 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Linda. They run out from time to time. I think they have recently brought in a new harvest. They may not be available yet. Email or call them for the new availability. And I’d stock up. They are wonderful!

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