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Healthy Borlotti Bean Salad With Onions And Anchovies Recipe

This Borlotti Bean Salad with onions and anchovies is a delicious recipe that you must try now that the summer is ending and we’re choosing to cook indoors.

Borlotti Bean Salad - Beans and Anchovies

Beans and Anchovies

Cooking Borlotti Bean Salad Indoors

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I don’t offer many new recipes during the summer months here in Rome and there is a reason for that. I try to avoid cooking in the summer months because the apartment becomes unbearable in the heat and even though we have air conditioning, it is still unpleasant and we prefer to prepare dishes that are more appropriate for summer, like our Summer Tuna And Bean Salad and Lemon Tuna Pasta recipes.

Now, even though it is still pretty warm here in Rome, I feel like fall is in the air and I can return to cooking, although I plan to stick with stovetop cooking for now and baking in the oven will need to wait a few more weeks.

This is my new favorite healthy Borlotti Bean Salad with Onions and Anchovies because of how amazing the sauce that you make with the anchovies and olive oil is with the beans. I have only eaten this warm, but I would expect that it is even more delicious chilled so you might consider giving that a try.

Borlotti Bean Salad - Tropea Onions

Tropea Onions

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Borlotti Bean Salad Recipe Ingredient Recommendations

There is some flexibility with this bean salad recipe that you might consider while making this recipe. The one element I would not change is the anchovy and olive oil sauce that you add to the beans. This is key to the recipe and defines the flavor really well. I will give a little more context below. As for some of the other ingredients that you might substitute, consider:

  • Onions – The recipe calls for Tropea onions, which are amazing, popular and come from the nearby region of Calabria. Luckily for us, our produce vendor has had them available all summer, and they are still delicious in the fall. Some people claim you can eat them like an apple, but I don’t recommend that. Just use them like a normal onion and try not to tear up. As for a substitute, you can use a more common yellow or red onion but be sure to slice them really thin because they aren’t cooked and larger chunks might overpower the dish.

  • Beans – A popular substitution for this recipe uses a white bean, like a Cannellini, Navy or any small white bean. I would stay away from black beans,  but the choice is yours. For my version, I used dried Borlotti beans, which you might find in your store sold as Cranberry beans, which are the same thing.

  • Anchovies – My history with anchovies goes back to my childhood when my father would add anchovies to his pizza. It was repulsive to me back then, and it continues today because I can’t understand destroying a delicious pizza with some nasty looking hairy fish (I know it’s bones). When I learned about frying the anchovies in oil and how they dissolve, I was stunned. The flavor is no longer fishy and it adds a depth to the flavor that I’m sure you will love. Buy a small tin or pack for this recipe and fry the filets until they dissolve into a delicious sauce.

Pasta Pot with Strainer

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Borlotti Bean Salad - Frying Anchovies

Frying The Anchovies


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Borlotti Bean Salad Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation: 20 Min. 
  • Cooking: 55 Min. 
  • Serves: 4 People

Borlotti Bean Salad Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (500 grams) of dried Borlotti Beans
  • 2 Red Tropea Onions
  • 4-5 Anchovy filets packed in oil
  • 5 fresh Sage leaves
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 bunch of Parsley (optional)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt, Black Pepper
Borlotti Bean Salad - Sage

Sage And Other Aromatics

Borlotti Bean Salad Cooking Instructions

  1. The night before, put the dried beans in a large bowl covered with cold water and let sit overnight.

  2. Place the rehydrated beans in a saucepan with plenty of cold water, add the sage and the peeled garlic cloves and bring to a boil. 

  3. When it starts to boil, lower the heat and cook the beans with just barely boiling water for about 45 minutes. If you used a different bean, this timing might vary, so you’ll need to taste them as they cook.

  4. While it is boiling, peel the onion, cut it into very thin slices and soak them in a bowl with cold water for 30 minutes. 

  5. Combine 4-5 tablespoons of oil and the anchovy filets in a small pan, dissolve the anchovies over a very low heat and turn off. 

  6. Salt the beans with 5-10 minutes of cooking time remaining, set aside a 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the beans and leave them to cool in a bowl. 

  7. Season the beans with the anchovy sauce, a couple of spoons of their cooking water and the onions after being drained and dried with paper towels. 

  8. Mix, season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and a little parsley.

Borlotti Bean Salad Serving Suggestions

This is a traditional salad, but the beans certainly give it some body so you could serve a small amount as an antipasto, or a larger bowl as more of a main dish with a side of toast and a glass of chilled white wine.

Borlotti Bean Salad - Warm or Cold

Serve Warm or Cold

Previous Seasonal Italian Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this seasonal and delicious Borlotti bean salad recipe, here are some of other fantastic recipes that you might want to try:


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