Remember when I was making a quarantine cooking “no-recipe recipe” e-book? Well, to be honest–that got put on the backburner for a bit. I started plugging away at it in late April, and then it was June, and priorities obviously shifted, as they should’ve. Social Justice > Pantry staple lunches and cooking hacks! It’s definitely still on my radar and I intend to have it finished just in time for the cozy fall/winter season! (Sign up here for alerts when it comes out!)
In the meantime though, I thought it would be fun to share a “no-recipe recipe” on the blog every so often–you know, to give you a little “appetizer” if you will. 😉 So today, I’m sharing the EASIEST pantry staple recipe you can even whip up in between Zoom calls. It also makes an excellent side dish–no matter what time of the year it is! This salad is always a fresh, healthy, easy dish that tastes like summer. It also transports well and is easy to scale up to serve multiple people, so it’s a great thing to bring to a socially distanced park picnic, end-of-summer backyard BBQ, etc!
I came up with this combination when I was trying to brainstorm more creative ways to use canned beans, a pantry staple that doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being interesting! You know I like a good cooking challenge–thus, this white bean salad was born!
This, like almost everything else I make, doesn’t have an exact recipe–which means you can’t mess it up, and you can always improvise with what you have on hand! (AKA the best kind of “recipe” 😉) Here’s how to make it in a flash!
White bean salad ingredients:
Combine the following into a bowl, mix, and enjoy!
A can of white beans (Cannellini).
You can also use chickpeas! Make sure to drain and rinse them well! I’d say 1 can serves about 2 people, or use 1 can per person if you’re really hungry/want leftovers!
Good olive oil
(Since you won’t be cooking anything, you want the good stuff here! Nice EVOO=for drizzling and dressings! My favorite olive oil is this one–my friend owns an Italian imports company and he imports it from Italy–you can buy it from his Amazon shop here in a bundle of two–the bottles are huge! Makes an amazing gift, too!)
Some diced onion or shallot.
Any color works! I particularly love red onion though! Just eyeball it based on how much onion you like.
A clove of garlic, minced.
You can even use two if you love garlic!
I love cherry tomatoes on the vine or Campari tomatoes specifically. They’re always the sweetest! Don’t buy the big tomatoes–those are often mealy in texture and have no flavor! Eyeball it, use as many as you like!
Vinegar of your choice!
Red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar are usually my go-to’s for this. Balsamic is equally great, but will just give you a different flavor depending on what you’re going for!
As much or as little as you have. I usually do about 1/2 avocado for 1 can of beans. If you’re not eating the whole thing in one sitting, only add avocado to what you plan to eat right away. Otherwise, it’ll turn brown.
A fresh herb.
If you have it (but totally optional)–basil or parsley or dill would be great. I only had green onions/scallions when I made the batch in the photo above, and that was delicious!
Sea salt and cracked black pepper.
A generous amount, to taste.
Optional: Make it a meal by tossing in some sliced chicken or good-quality tuna.
How else can you improvise with this salad?
This is also delicious with any leftover grilled veggies you might have from dinner the night before.
Don’t have white beans, but have a can of black beans? Use those instead, and use lime juice instead of vinegar (some grated lime zest is delicious too! You can use lime in addition to white wine vinegar if you want more of a punch, too!) and cilantro as your herb. Throw in a bit of cumin while you’re at it! Even better? Throw in some queso fresco!
For a Mediterranean twist: Use the above ingredients with chickpeas, red wine vinegar, parsley/dill/oregano (any or all, dried or fresh!), cucumbers and/or red peppers, and crumbled feta!
Make it Caprese style: Have mozzarella? (Even in string cheese form works!) Dice that up, drizzle with balsamic glaze, and you have a white bean Caprese salad!
Have leftovers? Eat it for breakfast! Serve it atop some delicious toasted crusty bread with an egg on top!