//Classic Three-Bean Salad

Classic Three-Bean Salad

Keep it simple with a timeless recipe for Classic Three-Bean Salad that’s a protein-packed and fiber-rich side dish for all seasons.

A white bowl containing three-bean salad with spoons and glasses next to it

I’m always on the hunt for ways to dress up pantry staples like a good ol’ can of beans. Spruce them up with a fresh veggie or two, whip up a quick-fix dressing and ordinary beans become extraordinary!

I’ve taken a trio of my go-to canned beans and transformed them into Classic Three-Bean Salad. It’s a simple, refreshing and protein-filled side dish that works wonders alongside every entrée imaginable.

A class bowl containing beans, peppers and onions with dressing being poured in

Going beyond its super powers as the ultimate side dish, I also scoop it atop my chopped salads or simple mixed greens for big flavor in every bite.

A cutting board with diced green peppers and red onion on top

Classic three-bean salad has been around for decades (centuries?). My grandmother made a version starring a similar vinegar-based dressing, and my mom shared this recreation with me.

I’ve tweaked it a bit, subbing out the vegetable oil for olive oil in a bid to squeeze in some healthy fats.

A glass bowl containing beans, onions and peppers

The great news is that you really can’t go wrong with using this recipe as a template. Grab any varieties of the below ingredients for a flavor win:

  • Canned beans
  • Fresh veggies
  • Vinegar
  • Oil
  • Sugar

Prefer white beans? Toss ’em in! Not a fan of green peppers? Leave ’em out! Dislike red onions? Try milder, sweeter yellow onions!

My biggest tip when it comes to three-bean salad: The longer it marinates, the better the flavor will be. So don’t hesitate to let this big bowl-o-beans go for a longer-than-average soak in the fridge before digging in.

A white bowl with bean salad and plates next to it

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A white bowl containing three-bean salad with spoons and glasses next to it

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Classic Three-Bean Salad

  • 1
    (14.5-oz.)
    can cut green beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1
    (14.5-oz.)
    can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1
    (14.5-oz.)
    can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2
    cup
    diced red onion
  • 1
    medium
    green pepper, diced
  • 1/3
    cup
    olive oil
  • 1/3
    cup
    apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3
    cup
    granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion and bell pepper. 

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until the sugar is dissolved. 

Cook the mixture for 2 minutes then pour it over the bean mixture and thoroughly toss to combine. 

Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. (See Kelly’s Notes.)

Kelly’s Notes:

This salad really is best if you let it marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight, so don’t hesitate to make it a day in advance.

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