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May 22, 2023

3 Bean Salad

There’s few recipes where kidney beans take center stage, and 3 Bean Salad is one of the best reasons to open a can of this hearty bean. Stir them up with green beans and garbanzos for a classic trio!

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3 bean salad in a serving bowl with a serving spoon made with green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion & parsley
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Old-Fashioned Three Bean Salad

Once you make this salad, you'll understand why it’s a classic. Crunchy green beans with creamy garbanzos and kidney beans and a sweet and tart vinaigrette that tastes great, even if it remains impossible to stab with a plastic fork off a paper plate. Ahh, summertime! Check out our top 30 Best Summer Side Dishes, fire up the grill, and make a batch of fresh Agua Fresca and you’ve got yourself a party!

green beans, kidney & garbanzo beans, red onion, parsley, garlic, apple cider vinegar, sugar olive oil & spices in prep bowls

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make This Easy Three Bean Salad

  • Beans – The kidney-green-garbanzo trifecta.

  • Red onion – An essential, brings the sharp spiciness that contrasts the creaminess of the beans.

  • Flat leaf parsley – Yeah, it might get stuck in your teeth, but that’s what friends are for.

  • Vinegar, sugar, and garlic – A solid foundation for this light dressing for three bean salad.

fresh green beans cut in to 1-inch pieces being blanched in a pot of boiling water
blanched green beans in a large bowl of ice water
blanched green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, chopped red onion and chopped parsley in a glass bowl
olive oil being poured into a small bowl with garlic, vinegar, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper

How to Make The Best Three Bean Salad Recipe

Do you have fifteen minutes and a can opener? If you answered yes, this salad is in your (near) future!

  • Blanch – A quick plunge into salted boiling water will cook the green beans and help enhance their flavor and texture. It’s our preferred way to prepare green beans for Pesto Green Beans too. It’s also a great way to preserve green beans for freezing, so you can savor summertime a little longer!

  • Mix – In a large bowl, stir together beans, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette.

  • Dress – Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

dressing being whisked in a bowl made with garlic, vinegar, sugar, basil, salt, pepper & olive oil
homemade dressing being poured over top of green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion and parsley
3 bean salad made with green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion & parsley all tossed with homemade vinaigrette
3 bean salad in a serving bowl with a serving spoon

How to Store Three Bean Salad + Tips

  • Three bean salad is simple to make, and is also gloriously easy to freeze. If you’re not going to finish the salad within 3-5 days in the fridge, store it in the freezer in air-tight containers for up to three months.

  • Do you have garbanzos but no kidneys, or some variation of this bean situation? You can substitute other beans, but just beware it won’t be your grandma’s three bean salad anymore. A classic three bean salad often calls for “wax beans” which includes lima beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. You could also sub in cannellini beans, or make White Bean Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette and make three bean salad another time.

  • This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy free, so it’s great to make for a crowd. It also can sit out at room temperature longer than most salads since it’s dairy free, making it a shoe in for backyard dinners.

3 bean salad made with green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion & parsley all tossed with homemade vinaigrette

More Salads For The Days of Picnics

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3 Bean Salad

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min
  • Calories: 190

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water. Drain the green beans and transfer them to the ice water.

  2. Place the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion, and parsley in a large bowl. Drain the green beans and pat them dry, then add them to the same bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper.

  3. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to coat.

  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Toss before serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories190
  • Protein5 g
  • Carbohydrates21 g
  • Total Fat10 g
  • Dietary Fiber5 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium247 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

3 Bean Salad

Questions & Reviews

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  • Diane

    I've not a huge fan of bean salad but this was delicious!!!!

    Thanks Diane, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Jenn

    This salad is refreshing and delightful. I never would have thought to combine all these beans but it's delicious. I will definitely be using this recipe a lot this summer!

    Thanks Jenn, glad to hear you'll be making it a lot!