This Turkish white bean salad is infused with flavor thanks to lots of fresh herbs, red onion and a delicious tahini lemon dressing. Inspired by a traditional Turkish salad recipe called Piyaz, this makes a deliciously simple side dish or topping for greens.
Piyaz – a Turkish bean salad
Piyaz is a traditional Turkish side dish recipe made from white beans or navy beans, red onion, flat-leaf parsley and a simple salad dressing. As with any salad, variations are many, some versions with tahini, others with tomatoes, and others with hard-boiled eggs and olives as garnish. Whatever the version, one this they all have in common, it a quick and easy Mediterranean white bean salad that is simply delicious and ready in minutes. It’s a fantastic recipe for when you are preparing a mezze (small plates to share) or when you need a creative side dish to serve along all other main dishes. Or go the traditional route and serve this salad alongside grilled meatballs (kofta) with bread for mopping up the salad and it’s delicious dressing.
Piyaz ala Elle Republic
My version of a traditional Piyaz is a simple one, focusing on the beans and the dressing. To keep this recipe a quick one, I use canned beans — either cannelini or jumbo white beans (butter beans). Though if time allows, I definitely recommend preparing dried beans as they simply taste best. The rest is simple. A lemon tahini dressing, crisp red onion, Italian parsley and the beans.
How to mellow out the flavor of red onions
Personally, I love the flavor of red onion, but if preferred there are some tricks to actually mellow out their pungent flavor. Simple submerge the sliced onion in a bowl of ice cold water and let them sit for at least ten minutes, stirring once or twice. Then drain them well (you can also pat dry with paper towels) before adding them to the recipe. For added flavor, you can also soak them in lemon juice or vinegar.
How to adapt this Turkish white bean salad
As with all simple salad recipes, there are countless ways to adapt the recipe, adding your favourite ingredients or trading out one this for another. Here are some of my ideas on how to further adapt this Turkish white bean salad recipe while still retaining the flavor of the popular Piyaz recipe:
- Add chopped Roma tomato or halved vine-ripened mini Roma tomatoes (this will bring it closer to becoming a traditional Piyaz recipe)
- Toss in a little very thinly shaved fennel
- Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac
- Choose your favorite type of bean, whether it’s jumbo white beans, cannellini, navy beans or black eyed peas
Looking for other bean side dish ideas?
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
- Roasted Carrots with Harissa, Butter Beans and Yoghurt Sauce
- Easy White Beans in Tomato Sauce
- Greek Style Jumbo White Bean Salad
- Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce (Greek Gigantes plaki)
- Super Easy Broccoli Salad with White Beans
Turkish white bean salad (Piyaz)
For the dressing:
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 1/2 lemons
- 3 tablespoon tahini (stirred)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (unfiltered)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 2 cans organic white bean (cannelini or butter beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 small red onions, halved and sliced thinly (see tips)
- 2 small bunches flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, tahini, vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
In a serving bowl, add the white beans, red onions, parsley and chili flakes. Drizzle over the dressing and gently toss to incorporate.
Optional: Cover them bowl and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving. This allows flavors to mingle and deepen and brings this salad to the next level of deliciousness.
Serve and enjoy!
- If desired, use dried 225 g cannelini beans or jumbo white beans (500 g cooked). Soaked overnight and then cooked for 60-90 minutes.
- To mellow the red onion flavor, place sliced red onion in a bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes, drain well before adding to the salad.
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