I absolutely adore this vegan white bean salad with lemon, artichokes, herbs and edamame. It’s light, refreshing, tangy, briny, and packed with plant-based protein. It makes for a wonderful side dish for any occasion, or a light dinner or lunch.
If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, you may have noticed that many of our salad recipes aren’t particularly heavy on the leafy greens. Sure, there’s a time and a place for a kale salad (preferably drenched in a tahini caesar dressing). But my all-time favorite salad recipes are light on lettuce, or don’t contain any at all.
This vegan white bean salad is the perfect example. No greens in sight (besides a few fresh herbs), but enough flavor that even your vegetable-detesting picky family will go for seconds.
Take my younger brothers’ word. It’s really tough to get the kid to eat any vegetables (let alone a full salad), and he was raving about this one.
In case you don’t believe me, here are a few more of our favorite lettuce-less salads for you to try:
- Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad
- Shaved Carrot Sesame Salad
- Fall Harvest Salad with wild rice and roasted vegetables
- Sweet & Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad
You might not be able to pass this white bean salad off as a full meal (unless you’re looking for something really light). But it sure makes for a perfect side dish, or a base for a simply cooked protein.
What kind of white beans should I use?
If you go to the store looking for a can labeled “white beans”, you won’t find what you’re looking for. There are quite a few different varieties of white beans, all of which would technically work in this recipe.
The most common varieties include cannellini, Great Northern and Navy beans. To further confuse you, cannellini beans are sometimes referred to as white kidney beans.
Don’t fear! Despite the many varieties (which differ slightly in size, shape and taste), they’re all relatively interchangeable. My personal favorite are cannellini beans, so that’s what we chose for this recipe.
If you have another variety on hand, feel free to use those instead. In fact, you could actually also use red kidney beans for this recipe. It would taste a bit different, but not enough to fundamentally change the flavor profile.
Canned vs. dried beans
Look. Unless you’re the kind of person that’s always prepared, super organized, and doesn’t mind extra prep time, you should probably use canned.
In case you can’t tell, I fall in the latter category. In theory, yes, I would love to use dried beans, but since I’m pretty much never prepared, I’ll opt for canned. And that’s perfectly fine! There’s nothing wrong with canned white beans. Simply drain and rinse them before using and you’ll be good to go.
If, however, you are extra prepared, you absolutely can cook your own batch of white beans. The texture will certainly be better (canned white beans can get mushy), and you can buy them in bulk, typically for a very cheap price.
How to cook dried white beans
First things first, rinse and sort through the dried beans to discard of any small rocks or debris.
Whether or not you want to soak the beans is up to you and your beliefs. The old myth states that dried beans must be soaked before cooking in order to soften them for faster cooking. Epicurious does a great job of debunking that myth in this article.
The general consensus is that they don’t need a super long soak. About an hour will do.
Next, add the beans to a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and let them simmer until they’re tender. Depending on the beans and whether or not you pre-soaked them, this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It took about two and a half hours for us.
Towards the end of the cooking time, throw in a large pinch of salt to add extra flavor. Don’t worry if you think you added too much – you’ll be draining them anyways, which will discard of most of the salty liquid.
Vegan White Bean Salad
Once your beans are prepared, simply toss them together with a tangy, lemony vinaigrette and a few extra ingredients.
In addition to white beans, we love the addition of edamame, which adds color, textural variation and more plant protein. Use frozen, shelled edamame and steam or add to boiling water for 2-3 minutes before using.
To add a tangy, briny punch, we use chopped, marinated artichokes and capers. Scallions and garlic add an extra punch. To round out the flavors, whip up a quick herby-lemony vinaigrette, complete with lemon zest, juice and three kinds of fresh herbs.
Toasted pine nuts and vegan feta cheese are the perfect final touch. I love the texture and nuttiness of toasted pine nuts, and vegan feta adds that extra salty, briny layer. We use this brand. Feel free to use regular feta if you’re not vegan!
This white bean salad holds up well for meal prep. In fact, the longer the beans sit in the flavorful dressing, the better they’ll taste. Just hold off on the pine nuts and feta until just before serving, otherwise they’ll get too soggy.
I personally love eating this as a light lunch on its own. It also makes for a great compliment to a grilled protein (or this grilled cauliflower steak!). However you eat it, we’re pretty sure you’ll go back for seconds!
If you make this vegan white bean salad recipe, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
I absolutely adore this vegan white bean salad with lemon, artichokes, herbs and edamame. It’s light, refreshing, tangy, briny, and packed with plant-based protein.
- 3 cups cannellini beans*
- 2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
- 1 cup marinated artichokes, quartered
- 3 tbsp capers
- 3 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp garlic, finely minced
- 1/3–1/2 cup crumbled feta (we used vegan)
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
- If using dried white beans, cook according to package directions. If using canned, drain and rinse well.
- Boil or steam edamame for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and set aside to cool while preparing other ingredients.
- In a small pan over medium-low, toast pine nuts until golden brown, stirring very often. Keep a close eye on them – they tend to burn very quickly. It should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together all ingredients until well coated in vinaigrette. Top with more feta, pine nuts, fresh herbs and black pepper.
*Cannellini beans can be substituted for another white bean, including Navy or Great Northern beans.
*Feel free to use dried or canned beans. Read the full blog post for more info on cooking dried beans from scratch.
Keywords: vegan white bean salad