Warm White Bean Arugula Salad

This Warm White Bean Arugula Salad is made by mixing warm white beans with arugula-almond-parmesan pesto. It can be served warm or cold. 
Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.

Vermont weather finally got to us. Both Dwight and I have been sick for over 3 days now. I do not even remember the last time I got a cold like this. The weather started warming up outside, but nights are still very cold. Even though I layer like a crazy person, it seems like I am unable to keep myself warm enough. In addition to all the layers, I have been wearing a hat all day long (even while I am inside), because someone told me that the best way to keep the heat in your body is to keep your head warm. I know the major temperature change will take some getting used to, but I hope it will happen sooner than later as I am not a big fan of being sick like this.

Okay, enough about me, onto this warm white bean arugula salad. To me, this salad is the kind of food that you make when you do not want to cook and eat a whole meal, but you still need to feed yourself. However, it also makes a great side dish.

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.

About this Warm White Bean Arugula Salad Recipe:

Canned Beans versus Home-cooked Beans:

Before I start talking about the process, I want to talk about white beans. I know many people, who enjoy the ease of using canned beans and I am one of them. However, since canned beans tend to be softer in texture than their freshly cooked counterparts, I mostly use them in dips, soups and stews instead of salads. I know it takes time to cook them and requires soaking overnight, but I also know that freshly cooked and still warm white beans mixed in with arugula pesto is next level deliciousness.

With all this being said, knowing this might come up, I tried this recipe both with canned and home-cooked beans and it worked well with both. The beans in the canned version were mushy and they were mostly broken, but it was still okay.

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.

The recipe below suggests cooking the beans at home, but if you decide to use canned beans make sure to rinse them well. You would also need to warm them up on the stove-top or in the microwave until they are warm to touch.

Arugula and Almond Pesto:

To me, what makes this salad “next level” is the pesto made with arugula, sliced almonds and garlic. When mixed in with the warm beans, it slightly melts and coats them beautifully. The recipe below uses 1/3 cup of olive oil to make the pesto. If you are calorie-conscious and/or feel like that is too much, feel free to substitute some of it with the beans’ cooking liquid.

I also used arugula as a part of the salad and mixed it with thinly sliced radishes. If you do not have radishes, you can also try beets. In the past, I also added thinly sliced Chioggia beets and that was really good as well. So feel free to play with whatever you have in your fridge.

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.

What to do with the leftovers?

I know I have been raving about serving this salad while it is still warm, but I also think that the leftovers enjoyed at room temperature are really good too.

On the next day, I scooped some on a piece of bread (as you can see on the pictures) and drizzled it with some olive oil. I didn’t think of doing this while I was photographing, but next time I will put a fried egg on it, sprinkle it with a little sumac, and serve it as a meal just like that.


Warm White Bean Arugula Salad

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.

A gluten-free warm white bean salad recipe flavored with arugula and almond pesto.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


For the beans:

  • 1 cup Navy or Cannelini (or both) white beans, soaked overnight*
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Arugula-Almond Pesto:

  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and spin-dried
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil*

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups arugula, rinsed and spin-dried
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons slice almonds, as garnish (optional)
  • a slice of bread, (optional)


  1. To cook the beans, place them in a medium-size pot. Cover them with 2-inches of water. Add in the bay leaf and bring it to a simmer in medium-low heat. Cover and cook (stirring occasionally) until they are soft and tender, but not mushy, 1 ½ to 2 hours. When cooked, remove and discard the bay leaf and drain the beans. Place them in a large salad bowl.
  2. To make the arugula almond pesto: Place the arugula, almonds, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped. While the machine is running, drizzle the olive oil over the tube slowly. Pour the pesto over the warm beans and give it a gentle mix making sure to not break the beans.
  3. To assemble the salad: Add in the arugula and red onion into the beans mixture and give it a mix. Taste for seasoning and add in, if necessary.
  4. If preferred, garnish it with sliced almonds and torn bread.


  • If you decide to use canned beans, you would need 3 (15 ounce) cans of white beans. I would recommend rinsing them first and then warming them up either on the stove-top or in the microwave.
  • If you are calorie conscious and or want to use less oil, feel free to substitute some of the oil with the beans’ cooking liquid.

This recipe is adapted (with changes) from Melissa Clark’s cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game.

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad: A Salad recipe made with mixing warm cannelini beans with arugula pesto.
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  • Gena - We’ve both got white beans on our minds this week, friend! What a lovely salad 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh my! I just read yours and I am so making that this week.
      So happy to hear that you liked it my dear friend. <3ReplyCancel

  • Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes - I hope you’re feeling better Aysegul. I’m sure all this rain hasn’t helped either. Oy! This warm bean salad is calling my name. Pinning! ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh Katie.. Thank you so much for your note. It has been a tough transition, to say the least. However, I am doing much better now. It took me a few days to feel like myself but thankfully after a few days of rest I feel like myself again.
      I am so glad you liked this salad. It was a life saver on those days when we were not feeling well.

  • Zerrin - What a fabulous bean salad! Perfect recipe for spring parties! I’m so intrigued by the arugula almond pesto!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh you would love the arugula pesto. Especially when it is mixed in with warm white beans. 😉
      Thank you for stopping by my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean - Oh my Aysegul… such a versatile recipe and so comforting when not feeling well… are you two better now? I was just thinking about arugula pesto as the farm has been offering it at their stand. I don’t love it, but I want to find ways to incorporate it and pesto is an easy way to mix it up with other tasty ingredients. This salad looks sooo fabulous!  So much flavor and texture. The beans… I get it! But I have to say, unless they come from the farm, I usually just grab canned beans.. Thank you for your reminder!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - My dear friend.. We are much better now. I took a few days off and slept as much as I could. Now, I am not 100% yet, but feeling much better. Thank you!
      I know what you mean about arugula pesto. It is one of those flavors that you either love it or tolerate it. I am a big fan, but pesto is a splurge for me, because of the amount of oil that goes into it.
      The best part of this salad is that you can make it with any pesto you like.
      Much love to you my friend. Can’t wait to catch up next month.ReplyCancel

  • Loes de Benis - I thought that cheese, parmezan or otherwise was not vegan, or even vegetarian. Am I mistaken?ReplyCancel

  • Meg Manion Silliker - oh my goodness this salad looks divine. ingredients are on the grocery list. beautiful imagery as well. xoReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Awww thank you Meg. Warm beans are a huge favorite in our house. I hope you and you family will like it as much as we do.
      Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Maddison - This was a delicious recipe. I reduced the olive oil both to save calories and to create a thicker pesto consistency, which I prefer. Turned out lovely, If eating as a salad, I would highly recommend throwing in some crispy/crunchy croutons. I missed that texture since I sliced my radishes wafer thin. I’m currently making a chicken pasta with the pesto leftovers! Can’t wait for Round 2. ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - YAY!! This makes me sooo happy Maddison. The addition of crispy croutons sounds great. I am going to have to try them next time I make this salad.
      Thanks SO MUCH for letting me know.

Hi There!

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I am Aysegul: the photographer, writer, designer, recipe creator, and dishwasher behind this blog. This website is a journal of my favorite seasonal and healthy recipes. Click around and let me know if I can help in any way. 
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