This white bean salad is protein-packed and filled with zesty, refreshing, and simple ingredients. It comes together in just 10 minutes and is great on its own, served in pita, or in wraps for a quick lunch.
One of my favorite ways to make the work week a little easier is to have lunch prepped. Usually, I make something like chickpea salad or tempeh BLTs, but lately I've been making this white bean salad.
White bean salad is nutty, zesty, and ready in just about 10-15 minutes. It's made with cannellini beans or small white beans, but great northern beans also work.
Serve it in pita or on sandwich bread with arugula, cucumber, and avocado, or on lettuce for a more traditional salad approach.
- Quick & easy: This protein-packed bean salad is ready in just about 10 minutes using less than 10 ingredients!
- Nutty & zesty: Lots of bean salads, especially chickpea salads, use mayo as the base. For a different approach, this recipe uses lemon juice, tahini, and Dijon mustard for the dressing.
- Minimal chopping: A few stalks of celery and two shallots are all that you need to chop for this recipe. Feel free to add extra veggies like carrots, red onion, etc.
- Versatile: This recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Serve on a sandwich, lettuce, pita, etc. I use cannellini beans but most kinds of white beans work.
Ingredients and substitutions
- White beans: I usually cook small white beans from dry in my Instant Pot or use canned cannellini beans, but most varieties of white beans work. One 15 ounce can yields 1.5 cups of white beans. You can even use chickpeas if that's what you have on hand.
- Tahini: This is just ground sesame seeds. Find it in the sauce aisle or international aisle. New to tahini? Try it in coleslaw, broccoli salad, and even salad dressing!
- Lemons: I recommend using whole lemons because lemon zest is also an important ingredient here.
- Shallot: This is like a small, milder, slightly sweeter version of a red onion. White, yellow, or red onion work if shallot is not available.
- Dill: I recommend using fresh dill for the freshest flavor. However, I have made this recipe with 2 teaspoons dry dill weed and it has a similar result.
How to make
Good news: making white bean salad is even easier than making chickpea salad. This is because white beans are very tender and easier than chickpeas to mash with a fork.
So that's where we'll start with this recipe. Add the drained and rinsed white beans to a medium bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to smash the white beans until about 50% are broken down. I recommend leaving some beans intact or else you'll just end up with something similar to this rosemary white bean dip.
Stir in the sauce ingredients: tahini, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
Add the remaining ingredients: lemon zest, chopped dill, shallot, and celery. Taste for seasonings and enjoy!
Tips and serving
- Tahini: The oils from the sesame seeds tend to float to the top of the jar (similar to peanut butter and other nut butters), so always stir tahini well before measuring it.
- For a more traditional approach to bean salad, leave the white beans intact instead of mashing them. This is a great way to serve it as a side dish at group lunches and gatherings.
- Serving ideas: I like to use this recipe as a sandwich or pita filling. It is also great in wraps or on lettuce with lemon vinaigrette.
- Not a huge fan of tahini? You can tone down the tahini flavor by using half tahini and half mayonnaise.
- Leftovers: Store leftover white bean salad in the fridge for 4-5 days. Enjoy cold.
- Freezing: I have not tried freezing this recipe. I do think that everything would freeze well other than the celery, which might wilt a little bit.
Looking for more easy lunch ideas?
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Tahini White Bean Salad
- 2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans drained and rinsed; see note #1
- ⅔ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lemon juice from 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup sliced celery from ~4 stalks
- 2 small shallots roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 2 teaspoons dry dill weed
- for serving: pita bread, cucumber, arugula, avocado, hummus
- Add drained and rinsed white beans to a medium mixing bowl. Add the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Use a fork or potato masher to mash the beans, leaving about half of the beans intact.
- Fold in the sliced celery, chopped shallot, and chopped dill. Taste for seasonings.
- Chill for 1-2 hours before serving or enjoy immediately on pita, sandwich bread, etc.
- Beans: Small white beans, Great northern beans, cannellini beans, and chickpeas all work here. One can usually has ~1.5 cups beans.
- Serving ideas: I like to use this recipe as a sandwich or pita filling. It is also great in wraps or on lettuce with lemon vinaigrette. Another option is to skip the mashing step and serve this as a side salad with whole white beans.
- Leftovers: Best enjoyed within 4-5 days. Keep refrigerated in a closed container.