This super easy tomato & white bean salad takes only 10 minutes to make, and is a great way to use up a summer tomato glut. It is delicious as a main meal salad with a loaf of crusty bread, or tucked into lunchboxes for an easy lunch.
Total Time Investment: 10 Minutes
The Princess has been peering into other lunchboxes at school, and has decided everybody’s lunch is far better than hers. To address this, she has abandoned her standard sandwich in favour of salad for lunch. However, those of you familiar with The Princess know that a simple lettuce and tomato salad is not going to cut it, and only a gourmet main meal salad will do. So this week she is enjoying my tomato and white bean salad in her lunchbox.
This white bean salad is one of the easiest salads I make. It often graces our dinner table during the summer months, either as a main meal or a side dish, and is a great way to use up the cherry tomatoes when they are coming thick and fast from the garden.
I am more than happy to make The Princess salad for lunch. Just don’t tell her that. As this salad keeps quite happily in the fridge, I prepare a stack of lunchboxes at the start of the week. The Princess simply tucks one into her bag each day, and happily takes her up-to-scratch lunch off to school. Everybody wins.
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Ingredient Substitutions for the Tomato & White Bean Salad
I often play with this salad according to the ingredients I have on hand, and it is always delicious, so don’t be afraid to mix it up a little. Try the following substitutions:
- I have replaced cannellini beans with borlotti beans, navy beans and black eyed beans (or peas) on occasion. Whilst not as good as the cannellini beans, they still work in this salad.
- Use canned cannellini beans in place of the cooked dry beans. A drained 400g (15oz) can of beans will yield approximately 1 3/4 cups, which is just shy of the recipe amount. If I am serving this white bean salad as a side I only use one tin. If I want to serve it as a main, I will use two tins.
- The quick pickled onions can be replaced with a sliced spring (green) onion, or some finely sliced salad onion.
- If you happen to have a batch of oven dried cherry tomatoes on hand, use those either in place of, or in addition to, the fresh tomatoes. They are delicious here.
- Replace the parsley with chopped fresh basil when it is in season.
Canned Beans or Dry Beans?
I prefer to cook my own beans in most cases, rather than open a tin. There are two reasons for this:
- Cost: for the cost of one tin of organic beans I can cook a huge pot of dry beans, which I then freeze to use in salads, side dishes or even dips.
- Texture: In my opinion, beans cooked from scratch have a creamier texture than beans from a tin.
To freeze the beans, I spoon 2 cups portions (which is roughly equivalent to the contents of a tin) into takeaway containers, and cover the beans with some cooking liquid. Seal, label and freeze for up to six months.
At one time, eating beans would cause me no end of intestinal grief. That was until I learnt how to cook them properly. The secret is to give the dry beans a long overnight soak in lots of cold water, then drain them well before cooking the beans in fresh water. Soaking the beans leaches out some of the long-chain sugars that are responsible for digestion issues. I also like to add a small piece of kombu (widely used in Japanese cooking) to the beans as they cook, which assists in their digestion. Since employing these two techniques I have been able to eat beans without issue.
Don’t think, however, that I am anti-can. There are times when I have forgotten to defrost the beans, or I don’t have any of my own canned beans on the shelf. So I always have a few assorted tins of beans in the cupboard for emergencies. Tinned beans make a perfectly acceptable substitute, and they are a simple way of ensuring dinner is on the table quickly.
Turn Your Tomato & White Bean Salad Into A Main Meal
Whilst this white bean salad is delicious as is, and is great as a simple side dish, I often add a few little extras to turn it into a main meal salad.
Try stirring through some crumbled feta cheese, a few salted capers or even some black olives to add an extra zing. Or I have even stirred through a tin of tuna on occasion. Serve the white bean salad over a pile of greens, add a loaf of crusty bread, and dinner is done.
A large batch of this tomato and white bean salad will keep happily in the fridge for up to three days, which makes it ideal for quick lunches or lunchbox meals.
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below.
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Tomato and White Bean Salad
For the salad dressing
- 60 ml (4 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
- 40 ml (2 Tbsp + 1 tsp) lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
For the salad
- 150 g (1 cup) cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 Tablespoon quick pickled onions
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 375 g (2 cups) cooked cannellini beans
To make the salad dressing
- Place the lemon juice and olive oil in a small jar with a lid.
- Season well with salt and pepper.
- Shake well to combine the ingredients, then set aside.
To assemble the salad
- Place the tomatoes, parsley and pickled onions into a medium bowl.
- Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Add the beans to the bowl.
- Pour over the dressing.
- Gently toss everything together. Stir the salad gently as the beans will break up if you are too vigorous.
- Serve & enjoy!
* This post was originally published in November 2015. It was updated and republished in April 2018.