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This old fashioned Three Bean Salad recipe is an easy side dish that you can stir together in about 10 minutes — no cooking required! Pack it for picnics, bring it to a potluck, or offer it alongside a burger at your next cookout. This versatile salad is always a crowd-pleaser!

Classic three bean salad in a blue and white serving bowl

I’ve been making this particular salad for as long as I can remember, and it totally reminds me of my childhood. My mom used to buy this dish at the deli counter or I’d scoop spoonfuls of it onto my plate at restaurant salad bars. There’s just something about that classic sweet and sour dressing paired with tender beans and crisp onion that creates the most perfectly satisfying vegetarian side dish!

Bowl of 3 bean salad sitting on a wooden table with a yellow and white stripe towel

How to make Three Bean Salad:

The main ingredients in this bean salad are:

  • Kidney beans
  • Green beans
  • Wax beans
Canned beans for 3 bean salad

First, drain and rinse the beans.

Drained and rinsed beans for three bean salad ingredients

Next, place the beans in a large bowl and add a diced sweet onion.

Beans and onion in a large blue and white serving bowl

Next, whisk together a simple dressing by combining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt.

Dressing for three bean salad in a glass bowl with small whisk

Pour the dressing over the bean salad and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve!

Close up shot of three bean salad in a blue and white serving bowl garnished with parsley

Is Bean Salad good for you?

Yes! There are so many great health benefits from the beans in this salad. Beans are excellent sources of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins and many other important vitamins and minerals. Some studies show that they can help reduce blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels and help maintain a healthy gut, too.

The olive oil in the dressing is full of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, while the apple cider vinegar may lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and improve heart health. So eat up!

How to serve Bean Salad:

You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature. There are many dishes that go well with the salad, including:

How long will Three Bean Salad keep?

This salad is best if enjoyed within 24 hours; however, it will keep in the refrigerator and stay fresh for up to 3 – 5 days. The perfect make-ahead side dish!

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • You do not need to cook canned beans before using them in this salad. Simply drain and rinse the beans and they’re ready to serve!
  • Make your Three Bean Salad with Corn by adding a can of drained corn to the mix!
  • For more filling protein, stir in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
  • Wondering what’s the difference between green beans and wax beans? Green beans get their color from chlorophyll, while yellow wax beans are simply green beans that are bred without this pigment (source). The two beans taste almost exactly the same!
  • Serve this salad cold or at room temperature. It’s delicious either way!
  • Have leftovers? Properly sealed in an airtight container, this salad will keep in the freezer for at least 1 month.
Long overhead shot of bowl of 3 bean salad

More easy bean salad recipes that you might enjoy:

Classic three bean salad in a blue and white serving bowl

Three Bean Salad

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Chill 1 hour
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 90.7 kcal
This old fashioned Three Bean Salad recipe is an easy side dish that you can stir together in about 10 minutes — no cooking required!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can cut green beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can wax beans
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse beans and place in a large bowl. Add onion.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients until completely combined (or shake in a jar with a lid). Pour over beans and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 24 hours in advance).

Notes

  • You do not need to cook canned beans before using them in this salad. Simply drain and rinse the beans and they’re ready to serve!
  • Make your Three Bean Salad with Corn by adding a can of drained corn to the mix!
  • For more filling protein, stir in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
  • Wondering what’s the difference between green beans and wax beans? Green beans get their color from chlorophyll, while yellow wax beans are simply green beans that are bred without this pigment (source). The two beans taste almost exactly the same!
  • Serve this salad cold or at room temperature. It’s delicious either way!
  • Have leftovers? Properly sealed in an airtight container, this salad will keep in the freezer for at least 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 90.7kcalCarbohydrates: 10.2gProtein: 2.4gFat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 0.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.3gSodium: 416.2mgPotassium: 100.9mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 4.1gVitamin A: 115IUVitamin C: 3.9mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword: bean salad recipe, three bean salad, vegetarian side dish
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is an outstanding salad come with more healthy for our health….and its remembered my childhood food…it looks soo yummy & more beautiful…i will make it tonight…Thanks for sharing…!

  2. 5 stars
    healthy for our health….and its remembered my childhood food…it looks soo yummy & more

  3. I made three bean salad for Easter. I added bacon bits and feta cheese as a garnish. The taste was enhanced. Still was delicious. The feta cheese was Caribbean style very good.

    1. Your version sounds delicious, Mary. I love the idea of adding feta. Thanks so much for your note — glad it was a hit!