Ingredients to make pesto are considered essential around my house, because you never know when you might need a batch of the good stuff. Those same flavors from ingredients used in my signature pesto – without getting my food processor dirty – are what dress this otherwise two-ingredient Cannellini Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad. It makes for a quick-and-easy vegetarian lunch or a side dish that tastes like taking a bite out of summer.
Add this recipe to your list of ideas for vegetarian, healthy lunches, or double or triple the batch to serve it alongside a favorite grilled protein. No matter how you serve this, the best of summer’s cherry tomatoes and herbaceous basil are sure to shine.
There’s something about the smooth, creaminess of the cannellini beans mixed with the fresh, seasonal burst from cherry tomatoes that works so well. Of course, this salad can serve as a base to add more crunchy bits (celery, anyone?) to bulk it up even further.
- 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans (or other white bean)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
Drain and rinse cannellini beans and set aside.
Wash cherry tomatoes and cut in half. Add to a bowl and sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
In a small bowl, zest 1 lemon and squeeze in about 2 tablespoons of the juice. Mince garlic cloves and add to the bowl, along with more kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon) and cracked black pepper (about ¼ to ½ teaspoon).
Stir dressing components together and drizzle in olive oil while continuously whisking to bring the dressing together.
Roll up basil leaves and cut into small strips. Sprinkle onto the tomatoes and add the drained and rinsed beans to the bowl. Sprinkle in pine nuts and stir in dressing, until salad is well coated.
Serve immediately at room temperature for optimal flavor.
Salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, though I prefer it at room temperature. That’s when I think the flavors of the basil and tomato really shine best.