This Easy Three Bean Salad Recipe, made with affordable pantry essentials including garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and cannellini beans, takes less than 15 minutes to toss together. Dressed in a light vinaigrette, this delicious three bean salad is the perfect summer potluck or barbeque side dish.
Easy Three Bean Salad
From leafy green to crunchy cabbage, chicken chopped to cold pasta – I love all the salads. But, pantry salads like this three bean salad recipe holds a special place in my heart because it is so dang easy to prepare (and transport!)
Unlike my plan-ahead, think-ahead, do-ahead husband, I have a tendency to procrastinate ev-e-ry-thing. One would think I’d have the cooking for potlucks and parties figured out by now, but it’s the opposite. Anyway, until recently I was always that person always bringing store-bought food to potlucks and family gatherings.
Fortunately, this easy and delicious three bean salad is a super procrastinator friendly dish as the bulk of it is made from canned beans. Other yummy additions include celery, red onion, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley, but it’s easy to adjust those ingredients based on what you have in stock.
Alright, who’s ready to make this 15-minute (or less) three bean salad?
Three Bean Salad Ingredients
I am a firm believer that canned foods, in moderation, and minimally processed, can be super healthy. Especially when it comes to beans since, as we all know, cooking raw beans comes with soaking and boiling and a whole lot of time that we don’t have.
- Beans – In this recipe I added garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, and kidney beans. You’ll find, however, many bean salads that come with blanched green beans, or other canned beans such as black beans and Wax beans. I always keep kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans in my house so that’s what into this salad, but feel free to mix up your own version.
- Red onion – Eating just beans can be pretty boring. We need some contrasting textures and flavors. Diced red onion does just the trick in adding a little crunch with just the right amount of spice.
- Celery – Fresh and crunchy. You don’t need to a lot, especially if you’re not a huge fan of celery to begin with.
- Fresh parsley – A little bit of fresh minced parsley goes a long way, especially once you add the tangy sweet vinaigrette.
- Vinegar – Red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are my all-time favorite vinegar for dressing. So, naturally, I mixed the two together to make a vinegarette for this three bean salad. You may use one or the other, or, play around with other vinegar such as white wine or champagne vinegar. I do not recommend plain white vinegar as it is far too harsh.
- Sweetener – I just added granulated sugar, you guys. A little bit of the white stuff (sugar, that is) won’t kill you – especially when combined with all those fiber-filled beans.
- Olive oil – We’re making a vinaigrette, so naturally, we need a little bit of oil. I tend to go light on the oil, but feel free to add more to yours if you prefer.
- Italian seasoning, salt, pepper – Season it up!
How to Make Three Bean Salad
Make this three bean salad in just three easy steps.
- Mix together the salad ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, first mix together the red onion, celery, and parsley. Add the beans (garbanzo, cannellini, kidney) and gently toss to combine.
- Prepare the vinaigrette – In a separate, smaller bowl or mason jar, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Combine – Drizzle the beans with the prepared vinaigrette and toss well to coat.
Should you rinse canned beans?
I highly recommend rinsing the cannellini, garbanzo, and kidney beans. The reason being that they’re canned in a mixture of water and salt which, over time, causes the beans to release starches creating a thick, cloudy, and unappealing liquid.
Although it is completely edible, it is also very salty and will alter the overall taste (and look) of the final dish.
Simply drain the beans in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water before adding to the mixing bowl.
Are Bean Salads Healthy?
In order to answer this question, you first have to decide if beans are healthy?
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, particularly the soluble kind, with approximately 1 cup of cooked beans providing 9-13 grams. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, promotes regularity, and helps manage blood sugar levels by helping you feel full for longer. All great things, right?
But beans are not only high in fiber; they’re also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, B vitamins, and many other important vitamins and minerals. Also good, yes?
As for the other ingredients in this 3 bean salad? Just be sure to take it easy on the olive oil and sugar (aka moderation) and you’ll be good to go!
Bean Salad Variations
As I mentioned above, have some fun and play around with different beans and flavors for countless bean salad variations. Here are some examples to get you started.
- Four Bean Salad – Garbanzo beans, Kidney beans, Green beans, and Green beans
- Greek Bean Salad – Garbanzo beans, Cannellini beans, cucumber, tomato, olives, feta cheese, and bell pepper.
- Mexican Bean Salad – Black beans, Kidney beans, Cannellini beans, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño (coming soon!)
- Black Bean Salad – Just black beans…and any other favorite veggies (plus avocado, of course).
- Caprese Bean Salad – Cannellini beans, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette
How long will Three Bean Salad Stay Fresh?
How long does a three bean salad last in the fridge? 3-5 days
To maximize shelf life, freshness, and safety, it is recommended to keep this bean salad stored in a clean airtight container. Sometimes, I’ll add a little sprinkle of fresh parsley to freshen it up.
What to serve with this 3 Bean Salad Recipe
I often prepare this three bean salad (or a similar version) with baked chicken breasts and fresh fruit for an easy, delicious, healthy dinner that makes even better leftovers.
Mostly, however, I enjoy adding a scoop of this tangy three bean salad recipe to the plate of whatever it is I’m eating. Yep, right on top. The vinegar contrast is always a fun surprise, but never so overpowering that it’s all I taste.
Love Bean Salads? Check out,
- The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Creamy Pea Salad Recipe with Bacon
- Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Drunken Beans with Poblanos
- Chickpea Tomato Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
- Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
If you try this Bean Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Easy Three Bean Salad Recipe
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 1/2 medium red onion - peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery - chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley - chopped
- Mix together the salad ingredients - In a large mixing bowl, first mix together the red onion, celery, and parsley. Add the beans (garbanzo, cannellini, kidney) and gently toss to combine.
- Prepare the vinaigrette - In a separate, smaller bowl or mason jar, whisk together the vinegars, sugar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Combine - Drizzle the beans with the prepared vinaigrette and toss well to coat.Optional- allow the vinaigrette-soaked beans to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so to allow them to absorb the flavor.
- Feel free to use your favorite canned beans to make this recipe including green beans, wax beans, or black beans.
- If you're sensitive to the spiciness of red onion, soak your chopped onion in a bowl of cool water for a few minutes to take the edge off. Just be sure to drain the water before adding to the salad.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)