Easy recipe for a vibrant white bean salad with roasted red peppers.
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- Read on for relevant tips and step by step pictures (1 min)
White beans make a lot of sense as the base of a hearty salad. Their texture and mild flavor are easy to build on by adding fresh or roasted veggies, herbs, spices and even distinctly flavored cheeses like feta or Parmesan.
The Balkan style white bean salad version I made for this post is very delicious and near and dear to my heart. It is both a visual and gustatory feast and being so easy to make you should definitely give it a try.
Growing up in Bulgaria a bowl of it frequently graced the table at family gatherings, especially in summer when it was one of the traditional sides for grilled kofta, kebapcheta, pork steak or ribs, pork neck chops and grilled chicken. Fire roasted red peppers partner beautifully with the beans and I recommend that you do not try to substitute them with fresh peppers – the roasted version brings so much more flavor.
Ingredients for White Bean Salad
- White beans. The easiest approach is to use canned Great Northern of Canellini beans. They are very similar – the former are a bit smaller and have a strong flavor while the latter are bigger, with a creamier texture and nutty flavor. Using a combination of both as we did here works great too. If you’d rather boil dry beans yourself, refer to the instructions in the recipe card below.
- Roasted red peppers. You need about three medium size roasted red peppers, seeds and skins removed. If you use store bought, which are generally packed in a vinegar solution, rinse them well before proceeding with the recipe.
- Fresh flat leaf parsley. Also known as Italian parsley its bold flavor is a great match for white beans.
- Red onion. Its milder flavor and crunch work well in salads and its color adds visual appeal. Substitute with a couple of green onions if you do not have any red on hand.
- Oil and vinegar. A fruity extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar form a glorious partnership – the white beans can withstand the richer taste and the acidity so you may use a bit more vinegar than you normally would in a salad dressing.
- Seasonings. Salt and pepper to taste and if you want a bit of a spicy touch – red pepper flakes are perfect for the job.
TIP: Adjusting each ingredient to taste is the best way to go. If you really like the flavor of parsley, feel free to add more, the same applies to the red onion and the seasonings.
Workflow for White Bean Salad
There are only a few simple steps to assembling this vibrant, hearty salad and while it is easy work, making it ahead of time is a good idea. The ingredients do benefit from extra time spent together – especially the white beans which absorb the flavors contributed by everything else.
- Prep. Drain the liquid from the white beans and give them a rinse, then drain again. Cut the roasted pepper in thin strips, finely slice the red onion and give the fresh parsley leaves a rough chop.
- Combine. Place the drained beans, pepper strips, onion slices and chopped parsley in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Make the dressing. Whisk the salt and vinegar first, then add the pepper, flakes and oil.
- Mix. Pour the dressing over the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir everything until every single beans is coated with flavor.
You can serve the salad right away or cover it with plastic and refrigerate it for half an hour to an hour before you present it – it tastes best chilled.
TIP: The salad will save well refrigerated for two to three days. You can also use it to stuff pita bread pockets, along with a kefta meatball or leftover grilled lamb meat for a quick, nutritious sandwich.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 2 cans (15.5 oz each) or Great Northern of cannellini white beans*
- 3 medium sized roasted red peppers (seeded and peeled)
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or more, to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Drain the liquid from the white beans and rinse them, then drain again. Alternatively, boil dry beans (see Notes below).
- Slice the roasted red peppers in strips, thinly slice the red onion and rough chop the parsley. In a mixing bowl combine all with the white beans and set aside.
- Whisk together the red wine vinegar and salt, then add the olive oil, pepper and red pepper flakes, if using. Drizzle the dressing over the rest of the ingredients and mix everything together. Serve salad chilled.
*You can also cook dry beans, see below.
DRY BEANS. You will need to boil a cup of dry white beans to obtain the same amount of cooked beans called for in the recipe. Either follow the instructions on the packaging of your beans or these:
- Soak a cup of dry beans in 5 cups of cold water overnight.
- Drain and bring to a boil with 4 cups of water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered until the beans are tender, but not mushy. Drain again, let cool down and proceed with the recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g