White Beans and Cherry Tomato Salad

If you’ve ever grown cherry tomatoes in your garden, you know how wonderfully prolific they can be in summer months. The following salad combines the sweetness of summer cherry tomatoes with white beans and parsley. The secret sauce is the dressing, which includes garlic and rosemary infused olive oil, and a paste made of garlic, lemon, Parmesan and anchovies. If you want a vegetarian option, omit the anchovies, if not, by all means include them. Or, if you don’t have access to anchovies, add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.

White Beans and Cherry Tomato Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce cans of white beans, such as Great Northern or canelli beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (omit for vegetarian option)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice

Method

white-bean-tomato-2.jpg
1 Start by making the dressing. Put the garlic and rosemary in olive oil in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until the rosemary begins to sizzle. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 20 minutes, allowing the rosemary and garlic to infuse in the oil.

2 Remove rosemary sprig from the oil, discard. Remove the garlic from the oil, reserving the oil. Add the garlic, anchovies (omit for vegetarian option), Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until smoth.

3 In a medium bowl, gently fold the garlic mixture in with the beans until they are well coated. Let sit for a few minutes for the beans to absorb. Gently mix in the reserved olive oil, tomatoes, and parsley.

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.

34 Comments

  1. Kate

    That sounds fabulous, and I’m happy to report I have everything I need. I’m one who doesn’t like anchovies on pizza, but they are wonderfully complex in most everything else, pounded into a dressing, melted over vegetables. Many say “No anchovies” without understanding what a complex and rich flavor they add — I think it’s just a knee-jerk reaciton. Kind of like my knee-jerk reaction to the idea of eating brains. So, I’m going to make this “as is” with some sungold cherry tomatoes from the garden and that can of white beans that is sitting, doing nothing. Thanks for helping clean out my larder!

  2. Angela

    This looks wonderful!! We’re going camping and I think I’ll make this as a side dish one night. I’m thinking I would like to make the dressing at home and refrigerate it. Do you think that would work?
    Thanks so much. I really do enjoy this site!!

  3. Vanessa

    Facinating! I usually don’t saute and infuse herbs for my dressings. Elise, do you think that the heat makes a difference or would the results be wildly different if you just chopped up some fresh rosemary and skipped the saute step?

  4. Elise

    Hi Angela – because this recipe serves so many, I actually made a full recipe of the dressing and only used half. I refrigerated the other half and had it the next day with another batch of beans and tomatoes. So, as long as you can refrigerate the dressing I think you’re fine.

    Hi Vanessa – rosemary is strong and can overwhelm other flavors if you take a bite into a piece. Infusing the rosemary allows for a gentle rosemary flavoring.

  5. beth

    I’ll second infusing the flavors into the olive oil. I recently started making “roasted” garlic by putting the peeled cloved in a small pan, covering with olive oil, and simmering until the garlic is golden brown. Cool, and *save the olive oil* for cooking. Wonderful two-for-one, plus you get oodles of roasted garlic ready to be devoured.

  6. stephanie

    i made this over the weekend for a group of friends, along with several other elise recipes. there was not a bean left in the bottom of the dish. i too was hesitant on the anchovies, but they really did add such richness and gave the dish an almost smoky flavor.

  7. Fer Guimaraes Rosa

    I’ve been getting tons of cherry tomatoes, and was looking for a more creative way of using them. This recipe is remarkable, and it’s all about the dressing. Very distinct, with the infused olive oil. It was a blast! We love it. Thanks! :-)

  8. Janet

    This is delicious! I made it last night, using grape tomatoes because that’s what I’ve got ripe now in the garden, and with lime instead of lemon, cause I ran out. Thanks for posting this wonderful recipe!

  9. vegetablej

    This is a wonderful idea for using Rosemary!. I’ve been cultivating a bush, now quite large, for about 5 years, and though I adore the smell and often bring bouquets into the house for that reason, I’ve since become a vegetarian and can’t use it on meat. So this looks like a fantastic way to use it — making infused oil. I can think of lots of ways that it could be used, including in the base of a nice fresh summer tomato sauce, and brushed on flat breads or lubricating pasta, maybe even on soba.

    Thanks!

  10. Sarah

    Tried this salad last night for dinner and very much looking forward to having it for lunch today also.

    Easily prepared – don’t be put off by the anchovies which give the salad a big punch but are not overpowering. Great mix with the rosemary and garlic infused oil.

    Try it!

  11. rachel

    Elise, this recipe looked divine and added a new twist to beans so I made it to go with a steak dinner tonight.

    Not only did it look divine, it was divine! The lemon was so refreshing and the hint of rosemary was on point. this is definitely going in my recipe box.

    This was the first recipe of yours I have made, but I know I will be back to make more. Thank-you!

  12. petra

    I made this recipe, the only thing I added was a can of corn (drained). I took it to a barbeque and was asked for the recipe! It is delicious and looks beautiful.

  13. josie-jo

    Kia ora

    A GREAT recipe. I’m always on the lookout for interesting and attractive things to do with beans. They’re yummy and so good for you. But, they’re the last thing you want to serve to guests, well, except until now…my guests were ripping my arm off for THIS recipe.

    Elise, I feel like I’ve uncovered Colonel Sanders secret recipe (for beans, if he has one, god bless)….thanks for sharing!!!

    Anyway my TIP OF THE DAY is to:

    MICROWAVE the garlic and oil for 1.5 minutes and then let it rest for 20 minutes thus saving time/dishes/burning the house down.

  14. Tina

    This is wonderful!!! I couldn’t find cherry tomatoes, so I used grape tomatoes instead. This is a very healthy, fresh-tasting, and delicious side dish for a cookout.

  15. Sarah

    Made again last night – Fab! Used basil as had it handy instead of parsley and this works very well too. Perfect for hot summer nights!

  16. Mbeth

    So delightful! I loved this so much the first time I wanted to make it into a main dish. I sauteed some bell pepper, ham, and the beans very lightly in the rosemary oil, then added the tomatoes and some baby spinach before tossing with the dressing. Wonderful and hearty!

  17. April

    I tried this recipe last night with fresh tomatoes and parsley from my garden. I’m sad to say it was very blah, and no one liked it in my house. I couldn’t understand from the recipe if you blended the oil in with the garlic, parm, lemon zest/juice and anchovies in the food processor? Or if you just added it to the salad at the end? The food processor mix was a thick paste when I mixed it into the beans. I thought maybe I didn’t read the recipe right and should have added the oil to the processed ingredients as well? In any case, I love every single ingredient in this recipe but it tasted really bad. I would never make it again.

    Hi April, correction to my earlier response, you did it right. The garlic is made first into a paste with the anchovies. The oil is added at the end. ~Elise

  18. Tina

    This salad is DELICIOUS! I make it exactly as the recipe says, and it gets rave reviews every single time. My boyfriend – who is a very picky eater from Europe who of course complains all the time about American food – absolutely LOVES this salad. It’s very fresh-tasting, and has a nice, almost sharp (but not overwhelming) flavor. I have to double it every time I make it, as the entire thing gets eaten.

  19. Esther

    This is fantastic with cannelini beans (Italian white beans). The rosemary/garlic infused olive oil in the dressing has a very nice touch.

    Great summer salad.

    Esther

  20. Marianne

    I’m so excited! Another tasty yet simple recipe … this is my favorite kind of quick side/lunch/supper/picnic dish!!!

  21. Tara

    I made this tonight. Fantastic! The garlic and lemon works well. This will be my lunch tomorrow, over a bed of lettuce.

  22. maria

    This salad is addicting. I will now be making it for the third time in two weeks. I used grape tomatoes and it was delicious. I finally found some cherry tomatoes so I will try it out to see which way I like best.

  23. natalie

    Great – I added green beans for more vitamins. They went with it perfectly, adding crispness and color. A large handful of fresh green beans, boiled for 2-3 minutes, then rinsed with cold water to preserve their color, and chopped into bite size pieces.

  24. Michael

    I made this salad this morning, because it sounded so good… and it is! Though, I did use 2 cans of beans to 1 package of tomatoes, and increase the amounts in the dressing a little bit because of this. Just a preference though! Great recipe!

  25. ashley

    This was yum! There seemed to be a bit too much dressing for the amount of beans/tomatoes so I tossed everything with 2 cups of bow tie pasta. Perfect!

  26. sharon

    Tomato season! I needed some veggies today and saw this salad. Added fresh Illinois corn, basil and pasta and yum-mie! And it was just the right amount of dressing–the lemon makes it fresh! I love that really good recipes are just an outline and jumping board for other things! thanks again for your site!

  27. RH

    Just made this sans anchovies, because I need a vegan dish. So, I skipped the food processor. After letting the garlic cloves sit in the oil, I mashed them in a press, removed the rosemary, then added all the other dressing ingredients to the skillet. Saved the food processor cleanup. Anyway, it smells great. Hope it goes over well at the picnic.

  28. Penny

    Delicious! Really satisfying and it is in rotation. I thought that it could also work with less oil, but I’m not complaining, as the dressing was great.

  29. Felice

    I just made this for lunch at work and it was amazing!! I didn’t even have fresh herbs but it still turned out great. Next time, next time… I tried adding mushrooms to the oil from the beginning and it turned out quite nice. Thanks so much!

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