Piyaz is a flavorful Turkish navy bean salad full of fresh veggies and protein. Make it in 15 minutes for a full meal or healthy mezze dish!
Lentils, peas and dried beans are in a class of vegetables known as legumes. In particular, white legumes like Great Northern and Navy beans are rich sources of healthy, plant based protein and fiber.
Because of this, and the fact that they have a neutral flavor profile, legumes are the perfect blank slate for creating healthy meals. Dishes like a lentils and rice recipe might be served as a meatless main dish, or a great side dish with meals like Berbere chicken.
Piyaz is a similar dish. It’s a hearty vegetarian meal on its own, but it’s also a great mezze platter idea to serve with pan fried halloumi, an Armenian flatbread like Lavash, and an assortment of Greek olives.
Ingredients in Turkish Piyaz
- Cooked white beans- Although the most common variety is navy beans, feel free to substitute them for any variety of cooked white beans. Other options include Great Northern, cannellini, Tuscan, or even black eyed peas.
If you want to use canned beans, you'll need to drain the liquid from them first.
- Red onion- This onion variety has a sweeter flavor than white or yellow onion. However, they are a suitable substitute if desired.
- Plum tomatoes- I like to use plum tomatoes because they are firmer and have fewer seeds and less juice than other varieties. However, any meaty tomato will work.
- Spices- Sumac, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and Aleppo chili flakes round out the flavor in the piyaz. If you are sensitive to spicy seasonings, you can omit the chili flakes.
- Flat leaf (Italian) parsley- Curly parsley is not a good substitute; it's really meant for garnishing plates. Although, if you would like an extra spicy bite, you could use cilantro.
- Lemon juice- Fresh citrus juice adds a nice tangy punch to the flavors in the navy bean salad. You can certainly use any citrus juice you have on hand. Grapefruit or lime juice would add delicious flavor as well.
- Olive oil- The dressing for the salad is just a simple combination of oil and citrus juice. I prefer olive oil, but avocado or sunflower oil are delicious substitutes.
Just as massaging kale helps to tenderize it, the same applies for red onions. Not only that, but massaging onions is also a great way to work the spices into the slices.
Simply place the onions into a bowl with the spices, then use your hands to massage everything together for a minute or two.
Recipe notes for navy bean salad
- Chill before serving.
Although you could serve piyaz immediately after making it, the flavors truly taste better the longer you let them "marry" together. The salad actually tastes the best if you refrigerate it overnight first.
- Refrigerate leftovers. The piyaz salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Store in colander for best freshness. If you don't plan to eat all of the salad right away, you may want to store your leftovers in a colander placed over a bowl. This way, the excess juice from the tomatoes will strain out and prevent the salad from becoming too soggy.
Piyaz (Navy Bean Salad)
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 2 tsp ground sumac
- ½ tsp Aleppo chile flakes
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 cups medium tomatoes quartered
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15 oz cooked white beans drained
- Transfer red onion slices to a medium bowl and toss with the sumac, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Massage the spices into the onion with your hands to soften and set aside.
- Squeeze the seeds from the quartered tomatoes and roughly chop. Add them to bowl with onions along with the parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and beans tossing to combine with spoon.
- Serve with grilled meats, lahmuchan or sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese as a side salad.
- Although navy beans are the most popular for this salad, any variety of cooked white beans may be used. Cannellini, Great Northern, etc.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.