10 minutes, no cooking and one super flavour-packed white bean salad loaded with crowd-pleasing Mediterranean flavours. Just chop a few veggies, toss them through white beans and pile everything on top of a quick, ultra-creamy basil tahini sauce. Perfect for meal prep, barbecues or a light weeknight meal.
Beans are a fabulous blank canvas type of ingredient. You can really pair them with whatever you like, and they can carry strong, bold flavours. Here, I’ve gone for a twist on my absolute go-to orzo pesto pasta salad – but with the added nutritional benefits of beans. Packed with protein, they’re filling, healthy and make a wonderful base. Play around with the veggies if you like, diced cucumber, red pepper or red onion would work well too.
This is a perfect make-ahead salad so it’s great for picnics, barbecues or meal prep. Serve it as part of a larger spread of salads, or with your favourite grilled meat (it’s great with harissa honey grilled chicken) or salmon (try it with maple glazed salmon). My favourite way to enjoy it is with a plate of crispy pita chips on the side. You can use the salad as a kind of dip, piling it onto the chips to eat it. It’s delicious, fun and adds a lovely crunchy texture.
Why you’ll love the salad
- Super quick and easy – it takes just 10 minutes to make and looks so impressive.
- High in protein and fibre – white beans are a nutrition powerhouse and make a filling, healthy base for a salad.
- No cooking is required, so it’s wonderful for hot weather.
- Perfect for meal prep – the salad keeps for at least 5 days in the fridge.
Only a few easy-to-find ingredients go into this salad.
- White beans. I’m using butter beans, but you could use cannellini beans, chickpeas (garbanzos) or even Kidney beans. Jarred beans tend to be what I go for – they’re much more flavourful and the texture is creamier and softer than tinned beans – but if tinned is all you can find, that will work too. If you are using tinned beans, you may need to add a little more salt to your salad – so just taste and season as you go.
- Tahini. Not all tahini is created equal and the quality of your tahini does make a difference here. If you’ve tried tahini and thought it was claggy and bitter, you’ve likely tried a low-quality brand. Stay away from supermarket own brands and go for one produced in Israel, Lebanon or Palestine. Good tahini should be light and runny (a little oil separation in the jar is normal – just give it a mix with a knife) and not taste bitter. I like using Belazu, Al Nakhil or Al Yaman.
- Pesto. Use a high-quality, ideally fresh, store-bought pesto or try making your own basil pesto (it’s super easy!)
- Pine nuts. These lovely nuts pair well with the pesto, but they can be expensive. You could swap them for almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds or pumpkin (pepita seeds).
How to make it
It’s as easy as blitzing the pesto and tahini into a smooth, creamy sauce in a small food processor, blender or chopper (you could also mix it by hand – use a fork to mix it until creamy). Then, chop your tomatoes and scallions, and add them to a bowl with the white beans, basil, a little pesto, lemon zest, lemon juice and a little salt and toss to combine.
Smooth out the basil tahini onto a serving plate then pile the bean salad on top, scatter over the feta, more basil and lemon zest and that’s it. I love to serve this salad with crispy pita chips – piling the salad on top of them is a fun way to eat it!
Got a question?
You can really use any white beans in this recipe! I’m using butter beans (lima beans), but you could use cannellini beans or garbanzos (chickpeas). You could even use Kidney beans. I love to use jarred beans (Bold Bean Co is my favourite in the UK) because I find they have the best creamy texture, but you can also use tinned beans.
Yes! Once made, the salad keeps really well in the fridge (up to 5 days). You can also make the separate elements (the basil tahini and the salad itself) ahead of time, and then just assemble when you’re ready to serve. If you do that, leave the fresh basil out until the last minute so it doesn’t wilt in the fridge.
This is a wonderful base recipe that you can make your own. Add more vegetables – red pepper, cucumber, red onion or celery would be great – or you could add another protein source like grilled chicken or tofu. Play with the cheese too – pan-fried halloumi or grated parmesan would be lovely in place of the feta.
Like this recipe? Here are more salad ideas you might enjoy
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print