Mediterranean Bean Salad
on Jun 08, 2023
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This Mediterranean bean salad is an exciting twist on a three bean salad. It has cannellini beans, kidney beans and chickpeas along with red peppers, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and crumbled feta. It is fresh and full of flavor and tossed in an Italian vinaigrette. This is a great salad for sharing.
You can also try this herby White Bean Salad if you’re looking for another bean salad recipe.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Salad
It’s a three bean salad, but better. No offense to the American picnic classic that is a three bean salad, but you can make it so much more interesting. This just involves adding a few more ingredients and whipping up a really good dressing.
It won’t wilt since there are no greens. Beans are a wonderful salad base alternative instead of lettuce. They come in handy for potluck and picnic salads. That’s because these dishes tend to sit longer, so there is more of a risk of them getting soggy.
It’s a salad and a side dish. I love when a salad can do more than just that. Beans make it more like a side, but the vinaigrette still gives it the freshness that you want from a salad.
Best Beans for a Three Bean Salad
First of all, canned beans are my go-to for salads. Rather than cooking dried beans, I prioritize convenience. I like to use a few kinds of beans that are different sizes and colors. This is for looks, texture and taste. If a recipe has three varieties of the same ingredient type, they should all bring their own distinct personalities to the final dish.
One exception to canned beans is green beans. I don’t use green beans in this recipe, but they are a mainstay in many three bean salads. Never use canned ones. Quickly cook fresh green beans like I do for this Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Olives. You want them to have some bite and be crisp tender.
This is what you need:
- Beans: For this Mediterranean salad, I use cannellini beans, chickpeas and kidney beans. They give you a medley of beans that works together while still showing off their differences. For white beans, you can substitute with great northern beans, which are smaller than cannellini beans. Make sure to rinse and drain the beans well when you pour them out of the cans.
- Bell peppers: Eaten raw, red peppers are veggies that are sweet with lots of fresh crunch.
- Cucumbers: I prefer using an English cucumber because the skin is more delicate and it has less seeds.
- Tomatoes: Keeping with the sizes of the beans and the rest of the ingredients, the recipe calls for halved cherry or grape tomatoes. They should be ripe.
- Red onions are crisp and add nice sharpness and contrast to texture of the soft beans in the salad.
- Kalamata olives have good salty flavor. I slice pitted olives in half, so they are a complementary size to the beans.
- Feta: Taking inspiration from a classic Greek salad, I stir in feta cheese. You can substitute with goat cheese or sprinkle in Parmesan.
- Parsley: I fold in chopped fresh herbs. The recipe says parsley, but you can also use basil.
- Italian vinaigrette: The vinaigrette is a combination of garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. You can use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
How To Make This Mediterranean Bean Salad
1. Make the bean salad dressing. Whisk the minced garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl.
2. Assemble the salad. Combine the cannellinis, kidney beans, chickpeas, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, feta and parsley in a large bowl.
3. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad. Toss the ingredients to combine.
This Mediterranean bean salad is good choice for a potluck or picnic. By not having lettuce, it is more sturdy, and there’s no risk of it wilting. I also like this recipe to serve with a trio of salads along with my Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Grilled Vegetable Orzo Salad. This works because you have a leafy greens salad, a pasta salad and a bean salad.
Leftovers & Storage
You can store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Let it sit out at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving it. This gives the salad time to warm up a little. And the vinaigrette will blend into the salad again if it the oil has solidified in the cold temperature of the fridge.
You can make this salad 2 hours in advance. Because there are no salad greens, you can go ahead and assemble the salad and stir in the dressing. This will give the flavors more time to develop.
If you want to stretch leftovers, you can combine them with cooked grains. Try stirring the bean salad with quinoa, barley or farro. Also, this makes the salad lean more toward being a side dish.
Depending what beans you have in your pantry, you can swap out this combination of beans or use a single type. You will miss out on some of the variety, but you can make a Mediterranean white bean salad instead.
More Salad Recipes
Did you make this bean salad recipe? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Mediterranean Bean Salad
- For vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- For salad
- 1-15 ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1-15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1-15 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onions
- 1/2 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- For the vinaigrette, whisk together garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the cannellini beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta and parsley.
- Drizzle in the dressing, stirring to combine the salad.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.