This white bean tomato salad is a light and easy dinner that’s perfect for a hot summer night.
When thinking about Italy it’s easy to imagine big plates of pasta, wood-fired pizzas that are wonderfully crispy and chewy at the same time, and bowls of briny green olives that magically appear when you take a seat at an outdoor cafe. But, for me, it’s plates of juicy tomatoes, milky mozzarella, and fresh basil that come to mind whenever someone mentions Italy. And so it’s this time of year when tomatoes are at their peak, that those caprese salad memories from Italy float to the top and I find myself craving a little taste from one of my favorite places.
Summer Fresh White Bean Tomato Salad
I think there’s a classic caprese salad somewhere in the archives of this blog. A plate of fat farm-stand tomatoes sliced and layered with fresh mozzarella is one of the easiest and most delicious things to eat in August, but today I’m sharing a caprese that’s amped up a bit.
Last week, I read a little snippet from my trusty book 1001 Foods to Die For (best described as an encyclopedia of dishes from around the world) about a Tuscan salad made with white beans, thin slices of red onion, along with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. I took the concept a little further and added a pile of mixed greens dressed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette with some toasted bread on the side. This time of year can be brutally hot in Italy and it seems the people of Tuscany have got it figured out – take a light salad, add some creamy beans and make it dinner.
This white bean tomato salad is summer eating at its best. No cooking required.
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You can combine all of these ingredients together in one bowl, but I like to toss the greens with the dressing and serve the white bean tomato salad on top. This way the white beans, tomatoes, cheese, and herbs maintain their vibrant color for a pretty presentation. This salad serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into ribbons
- 3-4 thin slices of red onion
- 4 ounces perline mozzarella balls (see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 ounces mixed greens
- 4 slices toasted bread
- Toss the beans, tomatoes, basil, onion mozzarella, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a large bowl.
- Combine the vinegar, olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in small bowl or jar fitted with a lid. Whisk (if using a bowl) or shake the jar until the oil and vinegar are combined. To dress the salad: Start with about 1/2 the dressing, toss it with the greens in a bowl and then assess. There’s nothing worse than a salad weighed down by too much dressing, so use a light hand to start and add more if it’s needed. Any extra dressing can be kept in the refrigerator.
- Serve the greens with the white bean tomato salad on top with toasted bread on the side.
Perline mozzarella is small pearl-sized balls of fresh mozzarella that are sold in tubs in the specialty cheese section. If you can’t find them, 4 ounces of a regular-sized ball of mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces, will work fine.
Nutrition estimate does not include the toasted bread.
- Calories: 528
- Fat: 25.5g
- Carbohydrates: 51.2g
- Fiber: 11.3g
- Protein: 26.1g