Cannellini Bean Salad

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This easy and fast cannellini bean salad combines fluffy white beans with juicy tomatoes, savory olives, and refreshing parsley. All tossed in a fantastic lemon garlic dressing.

The perfect make-ahead lunch ready in 10 minutes.

Close-up of a white plate full of cannellini bean salad with tomatoes and olives.

I’m always looking for variety and nutrition when it comes to lunch. Bonus points if it’s something I can make with easy ingredients and ahead of time. 

This cannellini bean salad ticks all the boxes for when I want a fresh and healthy meal ready in minutes.

The recipe is embarassingly easy to make, it uses only 4 basic ingredients and a super simple dressing but it packs a protein punch and big flavors.

The combination of textures and flavors utterly delicious, it keeps well in the fridge and work great for work lunches, picnics and potluck.

Serve it with crusty bread, focaccia or fancy garlic crostini, and you’ll have everyone coming back for seconds.

Grab your salad ingredients, and make a protein-packed salad that is so simple, and so good.

Watch how to make it

List of the ingredients

  • Cannellini beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Kalamata olives
  • Fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Salt & pepper
The cannellini bean salad ingredients are arranged over a white background.

How to make cannellini bean salad

  • Rinse and drain the cannellini beans.
  • Place the beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl.
  • Chop the parsley leaves.
  • Make the dressing by whisking olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and garlic.
Fresh parsley on a chopping board and lemon dressing in a glass bowl.
  • Add the parsley to the bowl and pour the dressing over the salad.
  • Toss well until well combined and enjoy!
Close-up of a glass salad bowl full of cannellini bean salad.

Recipe notes

What you need for this white bean salad recipe…

Beans: to make this salad recipe quick and convenient, I used canned cannellini beans, one of my favorite pantry staples. But you can use a variety of white beans, from navy beans and butter beans to great northern beans. They are all good substitutions.

Tomatoes: ripe cherry tomatoes are the best for this salad, they’re sweet, flavorful and they don’t release too much moisture making the salad watery. Grape tomatoes work too, just make sure to remove excess water by placing the slices of tomatoes on a colander for a few minutes.

Olives: I used pitted kalamata olives, they add a rich flavor, they’re juicy and taste definitely better than basic black olives. They’re a bit more expensive than their basic counterpart, but you need just a handful.

Herbs: fresh parsley is full of aromatic flavor and rich in Vitamin C, it works so well with the creamy beans. However, fresh herbs such as basil or dill work just fine if you wish.

Salad dressing: the fruity extra virgin olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon juice lend so much flavor. You can also use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice if you wish.

Salt & pepper: adjust as needed to make the flavor pops!

Are cannellini beans good for you?

The answer is yes! Cannellini beans are a terrific source of plant-based protein, minerals and antioxidants. Their fiber content make you feel full for longer making them a weight loss-friendly food.

Top view of a glass salad bowl full of cannellini bean salad.
Recipe updated: originally published in February 2020, the post has been updated today.

Cannellini bean salad variations

The recipe is versatile and works with any kind of beans including chickpeas and it’s easy to customize to your taste preferences:

  • Veggies: finely sliced red onions or red bell pepper pair so well with white beans. And if fresh tomatoes are out of season and tasteless, sun dried tomatoes make a great substitution. I also love diced avocado that adds extra flavor, texture and nutrition.
  • Protein: to improve the protein punch, shredded chicken, seared salmon, shrimp or crumbled feta cheese are all great add-ins.

How long does it keep?

Make a big batch, you can store this cannellini bean salad leftovers in the fridge in airtight container for 3-4 days.

More recipes with beans?

If you love cannellini beans as much as I do, have a look at these amazing recipes!

Lastly, if you make this cannellini bean salad recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!

Close-up of a white plate full of cannellini bean salad.
Print Recipe
4.80 from 5 votes

Cannellini Bean Salad

This easy and fast cannellini bean salad combines fluffy white beans with juicy tomatoes, savory olives, and refreshing parsley. All tossed in a fantastic lemon garlic dressing.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Cannellini Bean Salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Katia


  • 2 cans (15oz/425 grams each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 cup (7oz/200 grams) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered*
  • ⅓ cup (2oz/60 grams) pitted black olives, halved
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped


  • 3 tablespoon (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil, or adjust to taste
  • 2 tablespoon (30 ml) lemon, juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt, or adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Place quartered tomatoes, halved olives and cannellini bean in a large salad bowl.
  • Remove thicker stems from the parsley, and chop the leaves.
  • Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them well. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a glass jar tightly cover with a lid and shake until well combined and emulsified.
  • Add parsley and dressing to the salad, toss well until well combined and juicy.
  • Taste, and adjust as necessary until the flavors really pop. You might want to add more salt or olive oil according to your taste.
  • If time allows, leave the salad to rest for at least 30 minutes to enhance the flavor. Enjoy!



*Tomatoes: if you use larger tomatoes, cut in half and scoop out seeds and water, then diced.
*Cannellini: make sure your canned cannellini are not too mushy. I notice that they differ a lot from brand to brand. Some are properly cooked, hold their shape nicely and work well in a salad. Others are too mushy, good for soups, but too soft for salads.
Storage: It keeps well in the fridge for 3 days.
Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are  for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Garnish is not included. Please see my disclosure policies. 


Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 1031mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 514IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 7mg


  1. Hello! We are hosting a large gathering and I was wondering if this can be made a day ahead. If so, do you recommend adding the dressing 30 minutes before serving or the day before? Thanks!

    1. Hi Theresa! You can make it a day ahead, but I recommend adding the fresh parsley and dressig before serving, 30 minutes is perfectly fine. Enjoy! x

  2. 5 stars
    I added dried basil and parsley to the dressing, added cucumber and baby spinach to the salad and used Kalamata olives instead of black. It is one of the best salads I’ve ever had!

    1. That sounds delicious, Kelly! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, I’m so pleased you loved it! x

    1. Thank you for sharing, Janice! I’m so glad to hear it turned out delicious. : )

  3. 4 stars

    What is the serving size?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi! It’s approx 1 1/4 cup per serving. : )
      Have a lovely week. x

  4. 5 stars
    I made this as written and it is very tasty! I just found your website and I’m looking forward to trying your recipes! My husband and I try to eat a lot of plant-based meals so I’m thrilled to have some new recipes to try!

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that, Janie! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely feedback.
      Cheers x

  5. 5 stars
    I didn’t add the parsley, but I made this yesterday and it is delicious. Thank you 🙂

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely feedback, Mandi.
      Cheers x

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