This summer-fresh vegan delight works as a main or side
Local tomatoes and cucumbers are at their seasonal peak right now in our part of the world. So we take every opportunity to enjoy them, often tossing with oil and vinegar to make a simple, quick salad.
But sometimes we want a heartier dish. So we add white beans to the mix—turning a simple salad into a great picnic side dish, one that can also stand alone as a meatless main.
It’s easy, healthy, and bursting with fresh flavor. Not to mention vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it. That’s summer at its best.
Recipe: Tomato, Cucumber, and White Bean Salad
Exact measurements aren’t critical for this recipe. In fact, we typically just eyeball quantities when we make this salad. When the mix of ingredients “looks” right, it generally is.
Prep time for this recipe is 10 to 15 minutes. You can serve it immediately or let it chill in the fridge for an hour or so (it’s good both ways).
This recipe makes enough for about 4 hearty main-course servings, or 8 servings if you’re using it as a side or starter.
Leftovers keep for 2 or 3 days if refrigerated in an airtight container (though the quality declines somewhat after the first day).
- 1 15-ounce can white beans (see Notes for choices)
- ~1 pound tomatoes (slicing tomatoes, or cherry or grape tomatoes, or a mix)
- 1 large cucumber
- ½ red onion (you can substitute yellow; see Notes for additional substitutions)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ~5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (very approximate—you need to rely on your own taste buds for this)
- ~2 tablespoons lemon juice or wine vinegar
- salt to taste (several big pinches of Kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper (several grinds for us; see Notes)
- Open the can of beans, drain them, and then rinse. (We usually pour the beans into a strainer over the sink to make this easier.) Add the beans to a largish bowl (big enough to hold the finished salad).
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves or quarters. If using larger tomatoes, cut them into chunks or dice of ½-inch or so. Try to lose some of the seeds and watery pulp along the way—they really don’t add anything to the salad. Add the tomatoes to the beans.
- Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise, then (using a dessert spoon) scoop out the seeds. Slice the halves across their width (into half-moon shaped slices ¼-inch thick or less). Or just dice the halves into cubes. Add the cucumber to the beans and tomatoes.
- Peel the onion, then cut it into dice of about ¼-inch. We suggest using half a red onion (but if you like more onion, by all means use the entire thing). Add the onion to the bowl. (You may want to reserve a few thin slices of onion for garnish.)
- Wash and dry the parsley. Pick off the leaves, discarding the stems. Mince the parsley leaves finely, then add them to the bowl.
- Toss all the ingredients together to mix, then start adding the extra virgin olive oil. Don’t add it all at once—because you really don’t know how much you’re going to need. We suggest that you start with about 3 tablespoons, toss it with the other ingredients, and then taste. What you want is a thin—THIN—coat of olive oil on all the ingredients in the bowl. When you take a bite, you should taste ingredients first, olive oil second. Add just enough oil to reach this state.
- Next, drizzle in wine vinegar or lemon juice. Again, add less than you think you’ll need. Toss, and taste, then add more if necessary.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste, and toss to incorporate. (Alternatively, you can add these after you’ve added the oil and before you add the wine vinegar or lemon juice.)
- Taste the salad, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve. Or refrigerate the salad for an hour or so before serving.
- You can use any kind of white bean that you like in this salad. Cannellini or Great Northerns are our favorites.
- We haven’t tried garbanzo beans in this dish, but suspect they’d be great.
- BTW, if you want a more substantial salad, just double the amount of beans.
- Any shape of tomato works in this dish. But you really will taste the tomatoes, so don’t bother making this salad if you can’t find ones that have great flavor.
- Fortunately, you can usually find some decent tomatoes, even if you’re making this salad out of season. Off-season Campari tomatoes, as well as grape and cherry tomatoes, often have good flavor.
- If you don’t want to use red or yellow onions in this dish, you can substitute green onions (scallions) or shallots. Or just leave them out altogether.
- Fresh basil makes a nice substitute for parsley. Or you could use fresh dill.
- How much salt and black pepper to add? Enough so the salad tastes good to you. We offer suggested quantities, but in truth we never add exactly the same amount two times running. So just season until your taste buds tell you the dish is “right.”
Summertime, When the Eating is Easy
“Love all the salads we’ve been having lately,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This one is terrific—loads of flavor, and filling enough for a main course.”
“It’s similar to our White Bean and Quinoa Salad,” I said. “Although I think this one has more flavor.”
“I can’t decide what I like better, this dish or that wonderful BLT Pasta with Goat Cheese you made a few weeks ago,” said Mrs K R.
“Tough choice,” I agreed. “There’s also that Sautéed Corn with Chilies and Bacon recipe we did earlier this summer.”
“That one’s terrific,” said Mrs K R. “But let’s not forget some of the dishes we made in late spring. Like Pepper Coleslaw with Garlic Vinaigrette and Summer Green Bean Salad.”
“Maybe we should make them all again and have a taste-off,” I said. “We still have a few weeks of summer left.”
“Let’s do it!” said Mrs K R. “But first, how about another helping of this beauty?”
“Coming right up,” I said. “Always happy to serve another plateful of summer.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
White Bean and Quinoa Salad
BLT Pasta with Goat Cheese
Sautéed Corn with Chilies and Bacon
Pepper Coleslaw with Garlic Vinaigrette
Summer Green Bean Salad
Summer Pasta Salad
Pasta, Bean, and Tuna Salad
Or check out the index for more recipes
I could definitely make a meal out of this - a perfect summer dish! Thanks for a wonderful combo!
Very inviting dish. All the good and healthy ingredients for a delicious summer salad..love the beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Simple but yet very yummy as a side salad. A good hamburger and your salad would make a fabulous meal. Thanks for sharing.Wonderful job. Have a fun and terrific rest of the week...
Oh, yum....I love this! Beautiful colors in this salad with great flavors. Thanks :)
Hi Donalyn, this is all we had for dinner the night we made this! Really satisfying. And tasty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Dottie, this would make a wonderful side to a burger! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pat, pretty food is a weakness around here. ;-) And tasty food, too! And this is both. Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, love summer salads like this one. White beans are my favorite and you cannot beat the flavor of summer tomatoes.
Hi Cheri, summer tomatoes are so wonderful, aren't they? We're always looking for new ways to celebrate their flavor! Thanks for the comment.
We are literally on the same "recipe" page! I have cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes and a can of white beans sitting on my kitchen counter to make this salad! When my husband travels and I eat dinner alone - this is the kind of meal I want. Easy, tasty and filling! And it doesn't hurt to have seconds :)
Hi Tricia, this is such a wonderful combo, isn't it? And you're right about seconds! Thanks for the comment.
Mmm - delicious John - I am so yearning for tomatoes - still winter down here, but will be making this when they are available.
This is something new to me, I never combined white beans on salad before. Nice one
What a perfect way to enjoy the seasonal fruits. I love that you included the beans, because as you say it makes the salad heartier and a complete meal. Sounds like you and your wife have surely been enjoying the summer bounty. :)
This is a wonderful salad, John! I love the combination and especially when the tomatoes give up their juices and everything melds together...yummy!
Hi Rachel, spring is just around the corner for you! As is fall for us. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi Raymund, this really is tasty! And a nice twist on the classic tomato and cucumber salad. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nancy, we've definitely been enjoy the fruits of our labors from our garden. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nazneen, isn't this nice? So tasty! And colorful -- which we really like. Thanks for the comment.
Thank you for making white beans SO much more interesting :) You rock John!
What a terrific salad---fresh homegrown tomatoes and cukes don't need much for than a little salt and pepper to taste amazing, but I love the idea of a light vinaigrette, too :)
I do love me some white beans. But they don't love me back - sad day!! :(
Hi Nagi, isn't this a fun dish? Just loaded with flavor! Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGi, it is a sad day -- you're missing a good one. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, this really is a terrific salad. And you're right about the great flavor of homegrown tomatoes and cukes. Never hurts to add more flavor, though! :-) Thanks for the comment.
You're right ...this would make a great dish for a picnic. I can see eating it under the shade of a big cottonwood tree. Love the use of fresh seasonal tomatoes and cucumbers, and the fresh herbs. Since I have an abundance of both parsley and basil right now, I'd be tempted to throw them both in.
Hi MJ, I love combining parsley and basil! They really do pair well together, don't they? I haven't done it with this dish -- need to! Thanks for the comment.
Light, refreshing, colorful, and delicious... It's all what summer food is about!
Hi Denise, isn't this great summer food? We love it! Thanks for the comment.
Love this, John... filling, nutritious and very tasty!
It's great to see white beans in this salad, how clever! You're right - it's great as main, too, just as it is as a side dish. Yummy and healthy!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
I love the simplicity of summer meals and this salad is another example of freshness that takes advantage of tomato goodness. :)
Hi Lizzy, this really is so tasty! Just a very satisfying dish. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Julie & Alesah, the white beans really add a lot! And a bit of a surprise, which is always nice. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Judy, we take every opportunity to take advantage of tomato goodness at this time of the year! Thanks for the comment.
That looks so delicious John, love the colors. Yumm! Such a simple and fulfilling meal.
Great combination of textures and flavors. It looks delicious and healthy.
I eat salads like this all the time. There's no better dinner to me. Our tomatoes are just starting to come into season - it's very exciting.
What a beautiful hot weather dish. Thanks for this great recipe.
I love this combination for summer. I sometimes add a bit of chopped preserved lemon, too. Yum!
Hi Minnie, isn't this pretty? I love the colors, too! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, it really is both delicious and healthy. Winner! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, we always get excited over the first tomatoes, too! And really over all of them until the season is done. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Karen, this is a good one, isn't it? Good stuff! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, really like the idea of preserved lemon! Gotta try that! Thanks for the comment.
It certainly does look very summery and I love a dish that can be made in around 10-minutes. The colours and textures are very good too and I do like how it's simply dressed to allow the flavours to stand out xx
I have been eating cucumber and tomatoes from my garden with lettuce almost every day. I never thought about eating the cucumber and tomatoes with beans. I think that sounds like it would be delicious. Love the recipe.
Hi Charlie, those quick dishes are so nice, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Dawn, the beans really are a fun twist on the traditional tomato and cuke combo. Really good! Thanks for the comment.
I love how simple this salad is! Absolutely delicious!
I love simple summer salads like this. So great to make ahead and nibble on for days!
I love simple salads like this - especially when beans are involved!
Yes indeed. White beans make this a meal. GREG
Hi Lucie, isn't this nice? And awfully good! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Chris, it really is nice to have a container of this in the refrigerator for snacks, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Shashi, yup, beans work so well in summer salads, don't they? We use them all the time! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Greg, love white beans in salads! Such great flavor, and of course super nutrition. Thanks for the comment.
Another great recipe, John! Easy, colorful and summery :)
This is a hearty good dish, John! Anything with white beans gets my attention and I need to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!
Hi Dana, we like this so much we're serving it as a first course for a dinner tomorrow. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, white beans are wonderful, aren't they? And I love them in a dish like this! Thanks for the comment.
Don't you just love white beans, John? They really do elevate this simple summer salad. The eating really should be easy in summertime. And I usually find it's the simplest things that taste the best! (I'm going to hate to say goodbye to these beautiful tomatoes!) Thanks for sharing this great salad!
Hi Anne, white beans are so good! And good for you. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
I just made a cucumber and tomato salad ... wish I would have thought to have added some white beans. Great salad John.
John, this has to be one of the most splendid salads I've seen in a while. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Pinned!
Hi Lea Ann, we liked this so much we had it again last night. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Brooks, this is a good one! Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.
I love these summer recipes. Love creating according to tastes. and really love finding ways to use of my tomatoes and cucumbers so I don't give everything away. The beans add just enough heft. Remind me to not complain when the summer harvest goes away. I really love the abundance even if I do complain.
Hi Claudia, isn't it fun eating from the garden? Worth putting up with summer's heat to enjoy it all! Thanks for the comment.
I love your pretty tomatoes and bean salad for summer! A very healthy to enjoy summer :D
We have been eating a lot of similar salads. I love the cucumbers and tomatoes at this time of year, as well as the fresh herbs right outside the kitchen door. I always think adding something cooked makes a salad seem more like a meal, like your beans here. Cheers, Rocquie
Hi Zoe, isn't this nice? And your tomatoes will soon be in season, so you have this to look forward to! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rocquie, we eat plenty of salad for dinner at this time of the year! In fact that's usually what we have for dinner, so this is perfect for us. Thanks for the comment.
I love white beans to the point that we're growing some to dry this year! I think I need a yummy white bean and green bean salad tonight with tomatoes - thanks for the inspiration!
Hi Pamela, I'm impressed that you'll be drying your own beans! And your dinner tonight sound awesome. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hope I get an invitation to that taste-off! I clicked on nearly every one of those photos to admire them.
Hi Beth, we really like the idea of the taste-off! :-) Glad you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for the comment.
Love this and the protein. I eat at least two tomatoes a day in the summer and probably more. This is so colourful and fun. I could snack on this every day at work. Thanks for the recipe :)
Hi Robyn, we definitely eat tomatoes most days during the summer! Just love them, and they're so nice in this recipe. Thanks for the comment.
This looks like the perfect hot weather (as in 100 +) lunch!!!
Hi Pamela, it hasn't been that hot here! Well, maybe once or twice, but otherwise we've been in the 90s. Thanks for the comment.
You have made some pretty great salads, John! Definitely could make a meal out of them, which happen to be my favorite type of summer dinners! White beans are my most loved bean and this looks great!
Hi Abbe, aren't white beans wonderful? My favorite bean too! Thanks for the comment.
You two have been having such wonderful salads lately! You should definitely do a taste-off--though by the looks of it, this salad looks like a total winner (guess I'm biased?)!
Hi Ala, we love salads during warm weather! Any time of the year, really, but there's especially nice in summer. Thanks for the comment.
So simple and sooo summer!
Hi Alyssa, isn't this nice and easy? And incredibly tasty! Thanks for the comment.
This salad makes me feel like I'm back in Italy. Simple yet delicious!
John, I love how simple, fresh and hearty this salad looks. Will have to try for a summer picnic!
Hi Vicki, isn't this so nice? I love simple food! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mary, this is so great for a summer picnic! Or a quick midweek dinner. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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