Aaron McCargo Jr: White Bean Salad with Grilled Figs

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Aaron McCargo, Jr., winner of “The Next Food Network Star” and host of “Big Daddy’s House.” (Baltimore Sun photo)


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, small dice
  • 12 figs, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

Hannah’s Notes:

This is one of my favorite recipes to make – all year long!

If it isn’t grilling season by you – you can either use a nonstick pan – or roast the figs in the oven for a few minutes.


Preheat the grill to high heat.

In a large serving bowl add the beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

In a large saute pan coated with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the pancetta. Toss and stir until crispy and browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Add the figs to a small bowl and add salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Arrange the figs on the hot grill and cook until a nice char is achieved, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl with the beans from the refrigerator. Add the blue cheese, pancetta, parsley, thyme, and the figs. Toss to combine and serve.

Recipe courtesy of: Big Daddy himself, Chef Aaron McCargo Jr., Food Network, and FoodNetwork.com