This Mediterranean white bean salad is literally full of everything I love to eat and a perfect main course salad recipe. It is briny, salty, fresh and lightly drizzled with a charred lemon vinaigrette for a bright and vibrant finish. This salad recipe makes me feel like I am on some island, far away, even though I am sitting in my disgustingly humid backyard perpetually sweating in the peak of summer.
I go through a phase of craving healthy main course salad recipes during the hottest days of summer - mainly now. I love that most salads - including this one - don't require me turn on my oven, and are so easily adaptable to what I have lying around the kitchen. My farmer's market salad with beet vinaigrette is one we always have on repeat for dinner these days, as well as the best ever farro salad. When you find a plenty of solid salad recipes, you're in for a good summer!
What are white beans?
White beans are commonly called Cannellini beans or Great Northern beans. Are these the same thing? I don't really know. What I do know is that for this salad, I use the Italian cannellini beans. They are super creamy and taste a little nutty, with a great overall texture.
What pairs well with white beans?
For a salad, a few things pair well with white beans. Mainly acidic things, like lemon, or tomato. And also salty briny things, like olives and capers. All of which are incorporated into this salad to give perfect balance and plenty of heartiness to make this one of the best main course salad recipes.
While the beans are a given for a Mediterranean bean salad recipe, this salad also packs in the Mediterranean flavors with some good quality tuna, which also makes it hearty and healthy main course salad. Here's everything you'll need:
- Cannellini or Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
- Tuna. Try to use the kind packed in water not oil, as this salad has an oil-based vinaigrette dressing.
- Roasted tomatoes I buy mine at the antipasto bar in the grocery store
- Kalamata olives or your favorite kind
- Capers for a good briny kick
- Red onion, for a good bite
- Lemons, that will get a good char on the grill and squeezed into a charred lemon vinaigrette
- Olive oil for the charred lemon vinaigrette
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Of all my salad recipes, this is probably the most healthy one I have, everything in this is light and bright.
How long is bean salad good for?
I don't really think salads have a long shelf life, even when properly stored in airtight containers in the fridge. The acid in the charred lemon vinaigrette will start to break down and wilt the arugula in this Mediterranean white bean salad in as little as two days. I, personally recommend not saving, but if you have leftover and would like to save, keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Tips for success
- If you are using dried beans, make sure you follow the directions to properly soak and cook them. I use canned beans most often. They are convenient and I always have some in my pantry. When using canned beans, always rinse them in a colander really well.
- Mix it up here! This Mediterranean white bean salad is yet another one of my super adaptable salad recipes. Use sun dried tomatoes in place or in addition to roasted tomatoes. Don't like tuna? Use chicken instead. Thow in all your leftover roasted vegetables or fresh ones. This is not a must-follow kin dof recipe! Use what you like!
For this healthy and bright dressing, don't skip charring the lemons. Getting some caramelization on them adds a nice sweetness when blended together with the olive oil.
- grill for the charred lemons
For the salad
- 4 cups arugula
- 15 oz can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 12 oz can tuna drained
- ½ cup roasted tomatoes I buy mine at the antipasto bar in the grocery store
- ½ cup Kalamata olives sliced
- 2 tablespoon capers drained
- ½ Red onion sliced thin
For the charred lemon vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons halved and grilled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing
- In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemon halves, and whisk in the olive oil. Season this with salt and a good amount of black pepper.
To assemble the salad
- In a large bowl or tray, or two smaller bowls, combine the arugula, white beans, tuna, tomatoes, olives and and red onion.
- Toss the dressing with the salad to combine. Check you seasoning and add salt or pepper if necessary – do not automatically add salt, this is probably salty enough with the capers and the olives.