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White Bean and Orange Salsa


There are many opinions about soaking and cooking beans. I’ve been on a big bean kick recently, and I’ve found a method I like — soaking the beans in salted water and cooking the beans in salted water — but that’s not to say it’s better than any other method. I find soaking beans helps them not only cook up more quickly but also more evenly than uncooked beans.

You do not have to soak beans, and if you don’t, you’ll just have to be patient with the cooking. Most recently I don’t add anything (onions, bay, garlic, herbs) to the pot while the beans are cooking but this is mostly due to laziness — all of those additions do help flavor the cooking liquid and in turn the beans.

I’ve made this with Goya cannellini beans and fancy Marcella beans — any white bean will work. This salsa can made more into a salad by upping the olive oil and cutting back on the vinegar and lime to taste. It could also be bulked up with farro or some other grain. Here is an ancient video that may offer some guidance on peeling and cutting the orange.


soaking and cooking the beans:

  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 qts water
  • ½ lb. dried white beans, such as cannellini or great northern

for the salsa:

  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced to yield about a cup
  • 2 to 3 scallions, finely sliced, white and light green parts
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded or partially seeded and finely diced
  • ⅓ cup finely minced cilantro or more or less to taste
  • 2 oranges peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (Cara Cara or blood oranges are nice here)
  • juice of one lime
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar


  1. Soaking and cooking the beans:Dissolve the 3 tablespoons of salt into the water. Add the beans and soak for 8 to 24 hours. Drain, rinse and place in a pot with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook at the gentlest simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are cooked through. Let beans cool in their cooking liquid. You should have about 2 heaping cups
  2. To make the salsa, place the cooled beans in a large mixing bowl. Add the diced onion, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro, orange, juice of one lime, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Toss gently with a large spoon. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Add more olive oil and vinegar by the tablespoon to taste.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Salsa
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican

Keywords: white, bean, orange, salsa, winter