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White Bean Salsa

White Bean Salsa

This brilliant pantry-sourced appetizer is kind of an entertaining insurance policy since it takes so little time to pull together and the ingredients pretty much sit there just waiting to turn into something delicious. Guests will lap up this lemony, garlicky salsa so be sure to have a few extra cans of white beans lying around at all times.

It’s that easy: The darlings of my pantry, canned beans, wait patiently in the wings to come to the rescue whenever we need delicious food fast. Canned white beans provide a blank palette on which to paint your favorite tastes and textures. Crostini chips are a godsend as you no longer have to toast baguette slices. Just open the bag and serve.

White Bean Salsa

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Serves 8


  • One 15-oz can of cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts, minced
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch red chile flake
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced, plus more for garnish
  • Crostini chips


  1. Combine the beans, onion, tomato, olive oil, zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chile flake, black pepper and parsley. Toss to mix, smashing the beans lightly with the back of a fork but leaving most beans whole. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, chile flake, pepper or lemon juice to taste.
  2. Serve in a decorative bowl with the crostini chips. Garnish with extra parsley.
  3. Variation: You can also add chopped Kalamata or green olives and diced roasted red bell pepper and chopped pepperoncini for extra color and zip.
  4. Make-ahead: Can be kept at room temperature for up to 6 hours and refrigerated for up to one day ahead if you omit the parsley and add it just before serving. Let come to room temperature before serving if chilled
  5. In the glass: This lemony dip is best served with a light, crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or for the red wine lovers, a Beaujolais.

White Bean Salsa

Carla Snyder in her kitchen
By Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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