Tuscan White Bean Salad

by Emily Kemme

There is nothing quite as nice as being able to throw together a homemade bean salad to bring along on any summer outing.  The great thing about this bean salad is that it belongs to no season and no protein, but fits in well with just about anything.  Fish, chicken and lamb are all wonderful options.  When the weather begins to cool off, make this salad and serve at room temperature, or give it a whirl in the microwave to loosen the flavors.

Tuscan White Bean Salad

3   14.5oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1  red pepper, diced into 1/2″ pieces

2  cloves garlic, minced

1 T. fresh thyme leaves, stripped from the stalks

Tip:  to do this quickly, rinse thyme and pat dry.  Hold stalk in one hand and with the other hand, using thumb and index finger, gently strip the leaves from the stalk, running in the opposite direction of growth.

1/3  c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4  c. sherry wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place rinsed and drained beans into large bowl.  Add red pepper and garlic.

In separate small bowl combine oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper.  Whisk until emulsified.

Pour dressing over bean mixture, tossing gently.  I prefer a soft rubber spoon so that the beans are nudged. You want them to maintain their shape.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  For best results, prepare up to a day ahead to allow flavors to meld and develop.  Serve at room temperature.

Note:  the recipe makes a lot of salad, which will keep very nicely in the refrigerator for up to a week, and saves you prep time for other dishes.

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