Creamy white beans and smokey bacon come together in this bold and tangy white bean salad. This easy, hearty, gluten free dinner salad takes just 5 minutes of cooking time and is ready start to finish in 25 minutes.
I have been in the worst cooking funk lately. I have piles of recipes that I’ve torn from magazines (yeah, I still do that), pinned to Pinterest, saved on Instagram, or flagged in my voluminous cookbook collection, and I haven’t had the motivation to make a single one.
Perhaps it’s because my kids have been picky AF of late, or because Cameron was traveling a lot, or because the winter malaise is firmly rooted and I just don’t wanna. Or laziness. Or the fact that breakfast for dinner is just so damn delicious (and let’s face it, easy).
So it’s with great enthusiasm that I present you with this recipe for white bean salad with bacon and arugula. It’s done a bang-up job of cracking my cooking funk, despite the fact that there is very little actual cooking required.
This white bean salad is easy, filling, and comes together in a snap. The ingredients might be humble, but the flavor is anything but – it’s bold, smokey and complex, with a tangy finish that makes the minimal cooking required 100% worth the effort.
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White Bean Salad Recipe Notes
Creamy white beans and smokey bacon make for a happy, delicious marriage in this insanely easy white bean salad. The entire recipe comes together in less than 25 minutes, and takes minimal effort. Let’s get started!
Grab some bacon, dice it up, and toss it into a hot skillet to get its crisp on. Be sure to fully cook the bacon until the fat is completely rendered and the pieces are are golden brown and crumbly. Then set it aside to drain on a paper towel, and the result will be crunchy, salty pops of bacony goodness in every bite.
Because I was battling some serious kitchen doldrums, I took the easy way out with canned beans. Scratch-cooked beans will be a little softer and creamier than canned, and if you want to make them yourself you should totally go for it – the texture is unmatched. You can make white beans in the instant pot in as little as 30 minutes.
For a salad, I actually prefer the firmer texture of canned beans, and also fast and easy is the name of the game here. So canned beans for the win. Rinse them really well using a fine mesh strainer and toss ’em into a bowl.
To the beans, you’ll add the crispy bacon, some minced shallot and garlic, some very thinly sliced radishes, and fresh herbs. I added chopped parsley and thyme because it’s what I hand on hand, but a lot of fresh herbs will work here – rosemary, chives, savory, sage…the point it, use what you have.
The vinaigrette is super zingy, and really makes these humble ingredients shine. Zest and juice a lemon and add both to the bowl along with some red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and healthy sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Toss it all together and you’re basically done.
At this point, you can let the beans hang out in the fridge and marinate, or you can serve immediately. They are delicious both ways, but the flavor gets bolder and tangier the longer you let the flavors hang out. Not gonna lie – I had this for lunch, and then went back for a second serving at dinner. No regrets.
When you’re ready to enjoy your white bean salad, add it to a few handfuls of fresh arugula and toss, and then sprinkle with a bit of freshly shaved parmesan cheese. This makes for a healthy, satisfying, protein-packed meal all on its own, so dive in and get your tasty on.
More Ways to Enjoy Creamy White Beans >>
Rosemary Marinated White Bean Bruschetta
This naturally vegan and vegetarian white bean bruschetta is a fast, easy, healthy and insanely delicious appetizer that requires just 15 minutes of prep.
White Bean Ragout with Butternut Squash
This white bean ragout with butternut squash is a hearty and nutritious winter dinner recipe. I love it over cheesy polenta. For a grain-free option, try pureed or riced cauliflower.
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White Bean Salad with Bacon and Arugula
Creamy white beans and smokey bacon come together in this bold and tangy white bean salad. This easy and hearty recipe takes just 5 minutes of cooking time and is ready start to finish in 25 minutes.
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 14-oz can white beans drained and rinsed
- 1 small shallot minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
- 1 sprig thyme chopped
- 2 c packed arugula
- 1/4 c shaved parmesan
Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, then dice the bacon into ½” pieces. Add the bacon to the hot skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is completely rendered and the bacon pieces are golden brown and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Place the white beans into a mesh strainer and rinse with cool running water. Give them a good shake to release as much moisture as possible, then transfer to a bowl.
Add the shallot, garlic, radishes, parsley, and thyme to the bowl.
Zest and juice a lemon, and add each to the bowl, then add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently toss the ingredients until combined.
At this point, you can either serve immediately, or transfer the the white bean salad to the fridge to marinate.
When you are ready to serve, toss the marinated white beans with the arugula. Divide the salad between four plates, top with shaved parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.
The white bean salad keeps well in the fridge, without the arugula and parmesan cheese, for up to 4 days. This salad can be served chilled, straight from the fridge, or at room temperature.
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