This vegan butter salad recipe is filled with layers of delicious Mediterranean ingredients, and it tastes amazing warm or cooled down. Filling and high in protein, it travels well and can be customized. A great make ahead lunch option or something a little different to bring to a get-together.
Ahhh this is SO GOOD. A bean salad doesn’t sound like the most exciting prospect, and I get that, but with a little time and effort, this bowl of butter beans turns into something quite special.
We have the beans, olives and onions which are tossed in a very simple lemony dressing. We have roasted tomatoes and peppers which are juicy and have some of their cooking oil and juices which infuse into the whole dish. We have lots of vibrant green herbs. We then drizzle a tahini sauce over the whole thing, and, if you wish, some zaatar or dukkah or other seasoning. It’s just lots of layers of goodness.
I am a huge fan of these big white butter beans (aka giant lima beans in some parts) for their creamy, melt in the mouth qualities. And I don’t need to sell you on the benefits of eating beans. They’re an amazing food for plant based protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
And so filling! A serving of this for lunch will keep you satisfied for hours, and could help you avoid the dreaded afternoon slump.
- The butter beans can be canned OR cooked from dried. But if you are a butter bean fan, I do highly recommend cooking from dried. The flavor is just amazing. And with the price of food these days, it really cuts your budget down, especially if you can make them in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
- The baby tomatoes (cherry, grape / baby plum, whatever is small) are roasted, which means they don’t need to be top quality. Feel free to buy the cheaper ones.
- Red bell pepper roasts alongside the tomato. You could swap in yellow or orange pepper no problem, though visually it’s nice to have lots of red to contrast with the beans where yellow/orange might blend in a little.
- Kalamata olives are great but any olives will do the job.
- We make a simple lemon dressing from olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard and sugar. It’s nothing fancy since we also have a ton of other flavors coming, but it just makes the beans pop a little.
- We have a tahini sauce which is drizzled on top of the salad. Yes, we have a dressing AND a drizzle, and it’s glorious. The two sauces can end up merging together in the bowl, but you also get some distinct tahini-laden bites in the mix. This sauce is optional – I think it really elevates the salad but you’re welcome to leave it out if you want to pare things back.
- Lots of fresh green herbs are essential here. I’ve used a mix of basil, coriander (cilantro) and mint. Parsley and chives would also be right at home. Use any combination you like, depending on what is available and what is in season.
- A little pinch pot of zaatar or dukkah is an optional, but highly recommended, addition.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
- If you want to make this extra special and your budget allows, definitely throw some toasted pine nuts and/or pomegranate seeds over the top.
- Feel free to add a cup of cooked grains if you’d like to bulk this out a little more. You would add them alongside the beans, and just double the simple lemon dressing.
- You can also make this a leafy salad with some spinach, rocket (arugula) or lettuce.
Making it Ahead of Time
This is easy to make ahead of time, if you want to store it for lunches or bring it to a get-together. Some tips:
- Ideally if you’re making this in advance, you would let the tomatoes and peppers fully cool before mixing up the salad. This will help keep the herbs fresher, since they’re not sitting alongside hot ingredients in the bowl for too long.
- Store the tahini sauce separately and add it only when serving. The tahini sauce will have thickened when it comes time to serve, so you want to whisk a little warm water in to restore the pourable texture.
More Butter Bean Recipes
Warm Butter Bean Salad
- olive oil, for roasting
- 2 cups (325 g) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 3 cups (500 g) cooked butter beans, (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
- ¼ medium red onion, finely diced
- ⅓ cup (50 g) kalamata olives, sliced
- 1-2 handfuls fresh green herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp zaatar or dukkah, for sprinkling
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ½ clove garlic
- 1.5 Tbsp tahini
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple or agave syrup
- First, we'll get the tomatoes and peppers roasting. In a large bowl, toss them in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Scatter on a baking tray and cook for around 30 minutes at 180C / 360F. You want the tomatoes to be a little jammy and the peppers to be browning at the edges.2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, 1 large red bell pepper, olive oil
- While the tomatoes and peppers are in the oven, you can prep the remaining ingredients. Add the butter beans, olives, and onions to your salad bowl. Set aside.3 cups cooked butter beans, 1/3 cup kalamata olives, 1/4 medium red onion
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients, and then mix it in with the butter beans in the salad bowl.1.5 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 clove garlic
- Prepare the tahini drizzle by whisking together all of the ingredients. Set aside.1.5 Tbsp tahini, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp maple or agave syrup
- Add the tomatoes and peppers to the salad bowl, and mix through gently, being careful not to break up the tomatoes too much as you mix it together.
- Add the chopped herbs to the salad bowl and toss through.1-2 handfuls fresh green herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, basil
- Finally, add the tahini drizzle on top. You won't use all of it for the top of the salad, but keep it on the side to add to individual portions where desired. Sprinkle zaatar or dukkah to the top (or just keep it in a pinch pot for self serving.)1 Tbsp zaatar or dukkah