This easy bean salad is one of those salads you can keep in the fridge for days and use it in multiple ways. Packed with flavor from the olives and and herbs, complemented by a bright lemony dressing, it will liven up any plate this summer.
I’ve never been a traditional meal prepper — you know those people that prep all of their meals for the week over the weekend. It works for a lot of people, but I can’t commit to it for a variety of reasons. But if you’ve spent anytime around here or with my over on instagram, you know that I’m all about cooking once and eating multiple times. Leftovers, especially those that can be repurposed into something new, are my jam.
And this easy bean salad is just that. In fact, it actually gets better on day 2 and 3 as it soaks up all the deliciousness of the dressing.
An ode to the humble bean
I don’t think beans get enough credit for all that they offer. Alone, they are quite boring and bland. But when mixed with the right ingredients, they are delicious and satisfying.
Nutritionally, beans are packed with fiber and plant-based protein, so they fill you up and give you consistent energy. They are also filled with b-vitamins, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and other plant nutrients that provide many health benefits. Beans contain prebiotic fiber, which helps keep the good bacteria (aka probiotics) in your gut thriving (it’s also what can make you a little gassy since gas is a bi-product of that process). Eating beans is linked with better health and lower risk of many chronic diseases.
Beans are also incredibly affordable! Both dried and canned beans come in at less than $1 per 1 cup serving.
To use canned beans or dried beans?
I’m a total dried bean convert. They hold their shape and texture much more than canned beans, which in the cases of this bean salad is a nice bonus. You can also find beautiful heirloom-style beans like the ones pictured here dried but not canned. Dried beans can be frozen once cooked for up to 3 months, so you can make a big batch to have on hand.
But canned beans are definitely more convenient. I always have a stock pile of canned beans for when I haven’t planned ahead. And in some cases, like for my banana bread chickpea smoothie, I’d recommend using canned beans because you want the softer texture.
how to prepare dried beans
Dried beans do take a little bit of extra time to prepare. You either need to soak them overnight and then cook them on the stove, which sounds like a lot more effort than it actually is. It takes 30 seconds to put them in a bowl and cover them with water and then all you have to do is put them in a pot with some fresh water in the morning and cook them for about 60-90 minutes, until soft. They require very little babysitting on the stove.
For this salad, I highly recommend trying dried beans if you haven’t. But, know that you can always open a can if you don’t have the time.
5 ways to serve this easy bean salad
The best thing about this salad is it’s versatility. Here are 5 ways I recommend serving it:
- As a side dish to grilled fish or chicken. Add a simple green salad or grilled vegetables and you have a perfect summer meal.
- On top of a bed of greens with any other vegetables you’d like for lunch or a light dinner.
- As a topping for crostini with grilled sourdough bread or a sliced baguette for an easy appetizer. Add a little shaved parm or grated pecorino romano cheese for an even more delicious option.
- On top of a light white fish for a burst of flavor.
- As a small plate with other mediterranean-style dishes like my creamy white bean hummus with pita or cut vegetables, and tomato and cucumber salad (like this summer cucumber and heirloom tomato salad).
Possible alterations to the easy bean salad
Choose your favorite fresh flavored herbs. I usually mix in at least two, if not three or four varieties because I love herbs. My favorites include chives, dill, mint, and basil. Parsley works well, too! And if you’re a cilantro person, that might be good here, but I can’t attest to that.
This salad would be delicious with fresh chopped cherry tomatoes or cucumbers in the height of summer. Add both of those when you’re ready to serve because they won’t last as long as the rest of the salad in the refrigerator. Chopped grilled zucchini or eggplant would work well, too!
I purposely left this as a vegan (dairy-free) bean salad, but some shaved parm, pecorino romano, or creamy sheeps milk feta would be delicious here, too.
Did you make this salad?
Leave a comment letting me know what you thought about it and rate it in the recipe card below! Save it to your Pinterest board so you can find it later, and don’t forget to share a picture of your creation on instagram and tag me (@sarahgoldnutrition). I love seeing what you’re up to!
- 2 1/2 cups cooked mixed heirloom beans or white beans such as cannelini or great northern white OR 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed.
- 1/2 cup pitted, sliced castelvetrano olives
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced then chopped sweet white or red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs such as dill, chives, parsely, mint, or basil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey or agave
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Add beans, olives, herbs, and onion to a mixing bowl.
- Whisk together dressing and then mix into bean salad.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It's even better on day 2 and 3!