This cannellini beans salad is packed with Italian flavors and ready in less than 10 minutes! Learn how to make this authentic recipe to serve as a side or as an appetizer for your al fresco dinners.

With the arrival of the hot season, you want to spend less time near the stove and more doing outdoor stuff.

Making salads allow you to do that because they are fresh, quick and easy to prepare. For sure the perfect meal for those busy and hot days.

About The Recipe

Insalata di sedano e fagioli is the Italian name for this simple and delicious recipe. In Italy, it is mainly served as an antipasto (appetizer) or as a light lunch with crusty bread or focaccia.

One of my favorite restaurants in Rome used to serve these beans on their antipastone menu which is some sort of buffet of various appetizers such as bruschetta, cold cuts, various type of cheese, and grilled vegetables.

I loved to order it went we used to go there. Cleaning every last drop of that aromatic oil that was left on the plate using their artisan bread.

Close up of the bean salad.

What Are Cannellini Beans?

Cannellini beans are a type of white kidney beans popular in Central and Southern Italy where they are used to make traditional dishes like ribollita, minestrone, and salads.

Once cooked, those white beans have a smooth and creamy texture with a nutty flavor.

Being a legume, cannellini beans are packed with protein and fiber. White beans are also particularly rich in copper, folate, and iron, making them a great addition to soups, stews, salads, and many other dishes.

This type of beans is easily available in local supermarkets, in both dried and canned options. As with most other types of dried beans, they can last up to a year in a sealed container.

Dried cannellini beans.

Now, let’s see what you will need to make this simple, yet amazing cannellini Italian salad.

The Ingredients Needed

  • Cooked Cannellini Beans. If you can’t find that type, substitute with great northern or white navy beans.
  • Celery. It adds a crunchy texture to the salad that goes amazing with the soft beans.
  • Onions. You can use white, yellow, or even red onions.
  • Vinegar. It adds a tangy kick, use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Oil. The best oil to make this salad is extra virgin olive oil.
  • Seasonings. Oregano, salt, and pepper. You really don’t need much to make this salad, simple flavors call for simple ingredients.

Related: Best Vinegar For Dressings – By

How To Make Cannellini Beans Salad – Italian Style

Cleaning the celery is undoubtedly a very important step in this recipe since is added raw, we have to pay special attention to cleaning it as better as possible.

Start by discarding the most wilted leaves and the white part of the base of the stems.

Cleaning celery.

TIP: The tenderest leaves as well as the branches can be stored in the freezer (after you wash them and pat dry them) to prepare minestrone soup and other stews.

Wash the stems very well, paying special attention to the hollow part of each piece since that is where the dirt normally accumulates.

Using a potato peeler or knife, carefully peel the outer layer of each stalk, to remove the strings that give the celery a tough texture.

Celery peeled on a concrete surface.

Next, cut celery it into small pieces and place them in a large container.

Celery cut into small bites.

Peel the onion and cut it into thin slices. Add to the bowl and mix.

Onions cut on a concrete surface.

Add the beans and season with salt and pepper, add the oregano, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Mix and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Before serving add a squeeze of lemon, give it a quick mix, and serve.

Easy cannellini beans salad.

Useful Notes

  • A little lemon juice is perfect in this salad, I suggest adding it only at the end when it will be time to serve.
  • You can also add some minced garlic for a depth of flavor. For a subtle flavor and aroma, slightly mash one or two cloves, remove the skin and mix the garlic with the beans.
  • Tweak it. Add more veggies to the mix, halved cherry tomatoes or grated carrots are both good additions.

Serving Suggestions

For an authentic Italian eating experience, serve this cannellini beans salad as an appetizer or starter with crusty bread. Check out our recipe for no-knead easy homemade bread, it goes perfect with this dish!

To serve as a side, grilled meats are the first options but also other Italian classics like Roman style stracotto, beef stew (spezzatino), or this puttanesca chicken are terrific options of course.

Make Ahead And Store

Insalata di fagioli e sedano is great to make in advance, if you are invited to a potluck, want to start the prep of your next cookout the day before, or even want a quick side to have it ready for the week, this is your recipe!

In fact, I’ve found it’s even better if you make it a day in advance and give the flavors a chance to meld together. There’s also just something really good in macerated onions.

So, just throw your cannellini beans salad into a container with a tight lid and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

By the way, we recommend using glass containers because those keep best the flavors.

Cannellini bean salad recipe

Authentic Cannellini Beans Salad

This cannellini bean salad is packed with simple flavors and ready in less than 10 minutes! A fresh and simple salad to eat with crusty bread or as a side for many main dishes.
prep 10 minutes
resting time 10 minutes
total 20 minutes


  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 cup celery (cut into small bites)
  • 1 small white onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil (as needed)
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • lemon (optional)
  • salt and pepper


  • Place celery, onions and beans into a large bow.
  • Add salt and pepper, oregano, vinegar and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toss well, adjust seasonings and let the salad rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with a squeeze of lemon.


How to clean celery:
  • Start by discarding the most wilted leaves and the white part of the base of the stems.
  • Wash the stems very well, paying special attention to the hollow part of each piece since that is where the dirt normally accumulates.
  • Using a potato peeler or knife, carefully peel the outer layer of each stalk, to remove the strings that give the celery a tough texture.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 892mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 4mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Excellent & Easy!
    I was in search of a quick, pleasing & nutritional salad
    I used my homegrown lemon & fresh thyme olive oil dressing, same amounts, just substituted the acid & herbs
    I also added tuna