Bean and Lentil Recipes

White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

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White Bean Tabbouleh Salad is all the herby freshness of Tabbouleh, with the bulgur switched for white beans to make a more substantial salad. It’s a fresh, lemony, herby bean salad that’s totally delicious and good for you.

An excellent starch + veg side dish, or light meal for warm days. Plus it’s alot more interesting than the run-of-the-mill bean salads around!

Close up of White Bean Tabbouleh Salad ready to be served

White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

I don’t know if you have people in your life like me who don’t exactly jump up and down at the mention of a bean salad.

But throw the word “Tabbouleh” in there, and suddenly, it sounds a whole lot more interesting. Visions of lots of fresh parsley, hint of mint, dotted with tomato and cucumber, and that distinct lemony freshness.

Don’t worry. I didn’t just throw the word “Tabbouleh” into the name. I actually threw all the flavours of Tabbouleh in there too!!

White Bean Tabbouleh Salad in a big silver bowl

Ingredients in white bean salad

The ingredients in this bean salad are literally everything that you find in Tabbouleh, except I’ve switched the bulgur for white beans:

Ingredients in White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

  • Parsley – the key ingredient in this dish, the reason why tabbouleh is the first thing most people think of when the parsley is growing wild in the garden!
  • Mint – an essential part of a truly great fresh Tabbouleh! It’s a subtle background flavour, some people can’t actually pick that it’s in the salad. But without it, you’re missing a hint of freshness;
  • Tomatoes and cucumber – though in real Tabbouleh, these are a secondary ingredient, here in this bean salad version, I scale the quantities up to increase the fresh / juicy factor;
  • Beans – I’ve used cannellini beans here, simply because it’s the canned beans I always, always have in the pantry. But any beans will work a treat here – white or any other colour, fresh or cooked dried! (Notes in the recipe for cooking dried beans)
Remember that beans are good for you??

One of the most underrated foods in the world! Said to be the world’s best source of plant based protein, beans provide dietary fibre, Vitamin B, and other important vitamins and minerals. Research shows that they can help to reduce blood sugar and improve cholesterol levels. Plus, it’s a low glycemic food (“GI”) which means it will keep you full for longer.

We should all eat more beans!!

Lemon Dressing for White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

And here’s what goes in my go-to Lemon Dressing which has made an appearance in many main course and side salad recipes I’ve shared over the years, including the recent Brown Rice Salad:

Ingredients in Lemon Dressing

Ordinarily, Tabbouleh is soaked in lemon juice then a touch of olive oil is later added to take the sharp edge off the lemon.

But for this recipe, I’m making a proper Lemon Dressing for this recipe because I want the dressing to be thicker so it clings to the white beans. In order to achieve this, the Dressing needs to be properly thickened by shaking it vigorously in a jar, plus I also add a touch of Dijon Mustard which thickens it even more.

Pouring lemon dressing over White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

How to make White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

Shake up the Dressing in a jar, lots of chopping and toss, toss, toss!

How to make White Bean Tabbouleh Salad

White Bean Tabbouleh Salad in a big bowl, ready to be served

White Bean Tabbouleh Salad in a bowl, served as a light meal

What to serve with Tabbouleh White Bean Salad

This would be a great side dish OR stuffed into wraps for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes that traditionally include or are perfectly paired with Tabbouleh, such as Greek Chicken Gyros. Here are some more suggestions:

But there’s no need to stop there! While this Bean Salad will go with any protein, I think the freshness makes it ideal to pair with white meats (chicken, turkey, lean pork) or any seafood. Try it with a grilled marinated chicken breast or a piece of Grilled Salmon. Garlic Prawns or CRISPY Grilled Prawns or some Lemon Garlic Marinated Pork Chops.

For a quick meal, gently fold through some chunks of tuna (preferably in oil, not spring water), top with slices of the juiciest ever Poached Chicken Breast or hard boiled egg (quartered or sliced).

Also, it makes a great stuffing for a wrap – you’ll see me in the video smearing a piece of flatbread with hummus, piling on this Bean Salad then rolling it up. YUM! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Tabbouleh White Bean Salad

4.86 from 7 votes
Servings8 – 10
Tap or hover to scale


  • 9
Recipe video above. Think Tabbouleh — but with the bulgur switched for white beans to make a more substantial salad that’s an excellent starch + veg side dish, or light meal for warm days! It’s fresh, lemony, herby, totally delicious and good for you.

To add protein, top with grilled chicken or fish, hot smoked trout or even a can of tuna / other fish.

Serves 8 – 10 as a side, 4 – 5 as a meal. Keeps for 3 days.



  • 800g / 24 oz (2 cans) white beans (like cannellini, navy/haricot, butter beans) , drained (Note 1 & 3)
  • 4 tomatoes , cut into 1.25cm / 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 cucumbers (or 1 1/2 long English/Telegraph cucumbers), cut into 1.25cm / 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 red onion , finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley , roughly chopped (1 large bunch)
  • 1/3 cup mint , roughly chopped

Lemon Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove , small, minced using garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (Note 2)
  • 1/2 tsp salt , kosher/cooking salt (1/2 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Place Dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.
  • Place Salad ingredients in a big bowl. Drizzle over most of the Dressing, toss well.
  • Transfer to serving bowl. Serve!

Recipe Notes:

1. Beans – I’ve made this with white beans to make it look more like Tabbouleh, but any coloured beans will do just fine here, even chickpeas.

2. Dijon mustard – sub yellow mustard, or omit. Makes the dressing a wee bit thicker which is great for fine-grain type salads because it helps coat better.

3. Dried beans (navy, cannellini or other white beans) – you will need 1 1/4 cups of any dried white beans.

  • 1 can = 1 3/4 cups beans once drained
  • Recipe calls for 2 cans = 3 1/2 cups beans
  • 1 cup dried beans = 2 3/4 cups cooked
  • So you will need approx 1 1/4 cups dried beans (1.25 x 2.75 = ~3.5 cups cooked beans)

HOW TO COOK DRIED BEANS – soak in plenty of water (beans will triple in volume) 5 – 24 hrs. Drain  bring to boil then gently simmer in a large pot of water with 1 tbsp salt* partially covered with a lid. The cooking time will vary wildly depending not just on size/type of beans, but also the age of beans. Fresh dried cannellini beans, 24 hr soak can cook = 25 minutes. Old large lima beans could take over 2 hours.

So start checking at 25 minutes, and the closer they are to being ready, check every few minutes because small beans can go from just under to overcooked within 5 minutes. They are ready when they’re tender all the way through, if they are overcooked they can fall apart / disintegrate on the edges (also this can happen to lower quality beans).

4. Storage – keeps for 3 days, though the tomato does lose perky juiciness the next day. I also like to either hold back some dressing to give it a fresh drizzle just before serving, or else a squeeze of fresh lemon and drizzle of olive oil will do the trick.

5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings as a side. Excellent veg+starch side dish for meals, especially for warm days.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 152cal (8%)Carbohydrates: 17g (6%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Sodium: 161mg (7%)Potassium: 540mg (15%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 1264IU (25%)Vitamin C: 23mg (28%)Calcium: 72mg (7%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Life of Dozer

Don’t think for a second that he’s taking a pause in his hectic schedule to stop and smell the roses. Nope. I just made a subtle gesture that indicated there might be something tasty in that vicinity, and he shoved his nose right in there to check.

He came up empty. 😂


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