Table of Contents
  1. What is a giant white bean?
  2. Why use dried beans?
  3. Why does this work as a salad?
  4. Watch how to make this white bean salad
  5. Garlic & Herb White Bean Salad Recipe

Beans are underrepresented in the food world. When cooked well, they become creamy on the inside with just a slight bite on the skin. With the correct seasoning, they carry such amazing flavor. In my opinion, they’re one of the most economical pantry goods that offers a great amount of protein and healthy carbohydrates.

I love beans because I love how versatile they are! They can be blended into dips, incorporated as a picnic staple, or used as a stand-alone dish.

Dried beans are always the best pick for flavor and texture. And why is that? Dried beans allow the cook to control how long they are cooked and bring out just the right texture and flavor.

Close up view of large white bowl with two wood tongs holding a combination of white beans and greens

What is a giant white bean?

Giant white beans (also called Greek white beans) were originally called Gigantes, which is the Greek word for giant. Not surprisingly, the beans are native to Greece and the Mediterranean area. They possess a lot of natural fiber and protein and were often used in various mezze (small plate) dishes. They’re similar to a large lima bean only larger with an extra creamy interior.

Why use dried beans?

Traditionally, beans were always dried as a way to preserve them for long-term storage and use. The ones we buy in cans at grocery stores have been cooked at such high temperatures that most of the nutrients and flavor are gone. It’s sad, I know.

Dried beans allow for the ability to cook them in a certain method but also have so many more varieties to choose from. When you go to the canned food aisle, there are standard beans that can be found in any store. Alternatively, dried beans from online retailers have numerous heirloom varieties, such as Giant White beans. I’ll warn you: once you start cooking with dried beans, it’s hard to go back.

Top down view of wooden utensils holding a serving of white beans mixed with greens with rest of salad below

Why does this work as a salad?

A salad is a vegetable-heavy dish that’s seasoned with oil and vinegar, often served cold. Beans are not a vegetable, but a legume since they’re a seed. This salad uses the beans as a base but coats them with a dressing/marinade composed of herbs. Arugula is mixed in at the end for a fresh, crunchy, peppery flavor.

This can be served warm, room temperature, or cold. Take your pick! It’s the perfect salad.

Close up view of large white beans nestled among greens and Parmesan and lemon zest

Watch how to make this white bean salad

YouTube video
Top down view of large white bowl filled with greens and white beans topped with lemon zest sitting on white countertop

Garlic & Herb White Bean Salad

4.72 from 7 votes
While this dish is completely vegetarian, the addition of the white beans could make you think otherwise! When paired with garlic and a combination of herbs, this can be a main dish or side!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 14 oz dried giant Greek white beans
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 10 leaves sage separated
  • 8 fresh bay leaves separated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • ¾ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 small zucchini sliced in thin strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 oz arugula
  • 4 oz fresh Parmesan shards
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • In a large bowl, cover the dried beans with 4 inches of water. Cover and soak in the refrigerator overnight, about 8 hours. After they are soaked, drain the beans and add them to a large stockpot with 6 cups water, 1 sprig of rosemary, 5 sage leaves, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a slow boil and cook until the beans are tender and creamy on the inside, 60-90 minutes.
  • Once the beans are almost finished cooking, in a large skillet heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, chili flakes, salt, pepper, remaining rosemary, remaining bay leaves, remaining sage, and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened, 5 minutes.
  • When ready, drain the beans, discard the herbs, and add the beans to the olive oil. Stir and coat the beans in the oil mixture. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  • To the slightly cooled beans, add the ribbons of zucchini, arugula, and Parmesan. Stir and serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan on top.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 351kcalCarbohydrates: 21.6gProtein: 14.5gFat: 24.5gSaturated Fat: 6.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 13.6mgSodium: 1104.8mgPotassium: 505.4mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 1.3gVitamin A: 71.2IUVitamin C: 7.9mgCalcium: 355.9mgIron: 3.7mg
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. Hello,
    I have used these beans before but they take forever to cook
    Any tips on how and what to do to get these beans done in about an hour and half
    It takes me close to 4 hours to cook.
    It’s unreal
    I’ve tried so many times with no luck
    Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    VERY GOOD! The flavors are amazing. My husband is not a salad fan but he really loved this one. The only thing I did different I cooked the beans in the Instant Pot for 50 minutes with natural release and they came out perfect in less time. We paired it with a piece of grilled mahi-mahi for a full meal. Good job Kaleb on this one! I will be making this again.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this salad but had to substitute the white beans for butter beans. That’s all that I could find. This salad was so simple but over the top on flavor! I can’t wait to make it again.

  4. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved this recipe. It came out good the first time I made it, but exceptional the second time. I have never tasted a salad so complex and so delicious and yet with such simplicity! Truly exceptional execution Kaleb, and delightful to make. Your recipes, tips on growing produce and herbs and plants are brilliant and your smiling presence is what works for me. Keep those recipes coming, they are the best!

  5. I loved your white beans and arugula salad! I just used normal white beans and a touch less olive oil due to eating healthier. THANK YOU!

  6. Made this today and it is absolutely delicious! Will make this again and serve as an hors d’Oeuvre over bruschetta ! That would be very good! I love this recipe and in a pinch you could use canned cannellini beans, I had dried whit beans so I prepared them today, so so good