This delicious Tuscan Bean Salad is a great healthy salad option for the new year! Easy to make, full of flavor, and a great option for meatless Monday!Jump to Recipe
January is Salad Month here at Sara's Tiny Kitchen, and I'll be making and re-making some delicious salads and easy salad dressings here all this month! Starting with this absolutely awesome Tuscan Bean Salad. It uses mostly pantry staples such as olive oil, white beans, garlic, and red wine, but can be easily customized to make it your own!
This salad is Italian Cuisine at its best, as far as I'm concerned. Bold flavors and simple ingredients combine to make a salad that works as a main dish, side dish, or to take to a cookout!
What's the deal with anchovies?
I know that anchovies are one of the most divisive ingredients out there, and I know that a lot of people wont listen, but PLEASE don't be afraid of anchovies. You wont be able to taste them in the dressing, but I can promise you, it wont be as good if you leave them out. If you're someone who just can't deal with them though, the dressing is still delicious without it.
Other Salad Recipes You'll Love
- Romaine Lettuce
- White Beans (cannellini beans, great northern beans, navy beans, lima beans are some great options)
- Focaccia Bread
- Pecorino Romano
- Pine Nuts
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Anchovies (or anchovy paste)
- Dijon Mustard
- Salt and Pepper
PRO-TIP: when it comes to the canned beans vs dry beans debate, I always fall in favor of canned. I know that dry are technically more cost efficient, but I've never been able to make them well consistently.
Tips and Tricks
- Use any type of white bean you prefer. My favorite beans are Great Northern for this Tuscan White Bean Salad. I would stay away from kidney beans or black beans. I think they're too heavy for this salad.
- You can make the dressing a few different ways - I used an immersion blender, which is my personal favorite way to make salad dressing, but you could use a food processor, or just the shaken mason jar method (put all ingredients in the jar, and shake the heck out of it). If you're going the mason jar method, make sure to really finely dice your garlic and shallots.
How To Make Tuscan Bean Salad
Alterations and Substitutions:
I kept this a very simple salad with just the lettuce and basic toppings, but the beauty of salads is that it's a great way to express your culinary self. I wanted to keep this to "tuscan ingredients" but there are so many out there, so here are a few you could add:
- Artichoke hearts
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Roasted red peppers
- Red Onion
- Cucumber (i prefer English Cucumber)
- Feta Cheese in place of Pecorino
- I use red wine vinegar in the dressing, but you could use white wine vinegar instead. I haven't tried it with white balsamic vinegar, but I bet that would be amazing!
I think it would be awesome for meal prep as long as you prep everything individually. Like all salad, it wilts fairly quickly once dressed, but you could prepare all of the components separately, and then just toss them together when it's time to
So in this case, I'm using focaccia bread, but any crusty bread will do for croutons. My general go-to is Italian Bread.
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Tuscan Bean Salad
- 2 anchovy filets (or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)
- 2 cloves garlic minced small
- ½ shallot minced small
- ½ cup olive oil or use your favorite salad dressing oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10 ounces focaccia bread cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 heads romaine lettuce
- 1 can white beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts toasted
- Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or glass, and use an immersion blender to combine. Alternately, you can combine all of the ingredients in a jar, and either whisk it all together or just shake the jar vigorously until the dressing is homogenized.
- Preheat oven to 300. Cut the bread into ½ inch cubes, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then scatter on a baking sheet, and bake for 25-35 minutes or until crunchy.
- Place the rinsed beans into a bowl. Dress the beans with one tablespoon each olive oil and red wine vinegar, and then season with salt and pepper. Taste a bean, and add more salt if needed. Set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until they start to brown. Set aside.
- Cut the lettuce into bite size pieces. Top the lettuce with the beans, pecorino, and croutons. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss and serve.