It was in Rome that I first tasted cannellini beans tossed with thinly sliced red onion, herbs and olive oil. I fell in love with the earthy flavor and made a point of trying the many, many variations on this dish whenever possible.
It's a dish that travels well and can be eaten at room temperature, making it perfect for potlucks and picnics. I don't think I've ever ended up with the same end result, though I always start with the same basic recipe. The salad pictured here has less tomato than called for, white onions instead or red, and the addition of radishes and baby spinach. That's the beauty of this recipe-- once you've got the basic salad made you can add whatever appeals to you. Chopped pitted Greek olives, sliced pepperoncini (small Italian peppers), and bits of feta or smoked cheese also work very well.
You can, of course, cook your own beans, but I tend not to plan ahead that far. I always have a few cans of cannellini beans in my cupboard so that I can make this salad at a moment's notice.
Cannellini Bean Salad
adapted from The American Cancer Society's Healthy Eating Cookbook
1 16-ounce can white beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
Splash of red wine vinegar, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
Place beans into a small bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper, mixing gently. Add tomatoes, onion, and oregano and toss to mix. Add the vinegar, to taste.