Warm White Bean Salad with Gremolata Dressing

Preparation info

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Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Because we prefer a firm bean in salads our first choice is dried beans that we’ve cooked ourselves rather than canned beans, even though canned beans are quicker. If dried cannellini beans are not available, use any oval-shaped white bean. Great Northern, baby limas, or navy beans are all good choices.


  • cups dried cannellini beans, rinsed (see Note)
  • 1 cup diced (¼ inch or about same size as beans) red onion
  • 1 cup diced (¼ inch or about same size as beans) celery
  • ¼ cup chopped leafy celery tops
  • ½ cup (packed) coarsely cut flat-leaf parsley, including stems
  • 2 strips (2 × ½ inches) lemon zest, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ripe plum tomato wedges, for garnish


    • Soak the beans overnight or use a quick soak as described on. Drain beans. Add 2 quarts fresh water and simmer beans, covered, until tender but not mushy, 1½ to 2 hours. Drain.
    • Add the onion, celery, and celery leaves to the hot beans. Combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor and process, pulsing, until the mixture is very finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a saucepan, add the vinegar, and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring. Remove from the heat and add to the beans. Add the lemon juice and pepper and toss to blend. Transfer the bean salad to a large shallow serving bowl.
    • Garnish the salad with plum tomatoes and serve while still warm or at room temperature.