Tale of the Plate: White bean & salami salad


March 31, 2023

by Sharon Smith 

While this recipe works well any time of year, the growing season is almost here, and garden-fresh ingredients are bound to take this protein-packed salad to next-level goodness. Add some crusty bread, and you’ve got an easy, satisfying meal.

At Little Mama’s in SouthPark, the salad accompanies the mozzarella bar. Chef Thomas “Tommy” Vance grew up in a predominantly Italian American family in Long Island where food and fellowship go hand-in-hand. Vance says memories from potluck family barbecues fueled his desire to become a chef.

Chef Tommy Vance at Little Mama's restaurant in SouthPark.
Chef Thomas “Tommy” Vance at Little Mama’s in SouthPark. Photo courtesy Little Mama’s.

“White bean salad was always a staple. Everyone had their own recipe, but the main base was always a type of white bean, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and cured meat. The secret to this recipe is the balance of fresh lemon juice and high quality olive oil. Simple, but if done right really makes a difference,” Vance says.

White Bean and Salami Salad

feeds 3-5 people 


1 cup sliced grape tomatoes

1 cup diced English cucumber

1/2 cup diced red onion

3 cups rinsed canned
cannellini beans

1 cup diced salami

1 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped parsley 

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper


Cut grape tomatoes into 1/8 pieces and add them to a mixing bowl.

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Dice cucumber, red onion and salami. Try to make them all the same size, about 1/4 inch. Add to the mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. The beans and vegetables need time to marinate and build flavor. Use high quality extra virgin olive oil (something with a dark bottle is best). Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper depending on your palate.  SP

Photographs courtesy Little Mama’s

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