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3 Bean Salad Recipe is a tangy combination of Kidney beans, green beans and garbanzo beans. This classic three bean salad with homemade dressing is perfect for potlucks and picnics.
3 Bean Salad Recipe
This salad is a tasty combination of different types of beans with a light and flavorful dressing. Thinly sliced onions add to the flavor and it all combines into a Summer favorite.
When the weather is hot and you want something light but delicious, give this recipe a try. It is such an easy three bean salad recipe. We also love to make this easy Caprese Pasta Salad for a light but flavor packed dish.
Where did this salad originate?
No one seems to know the exact origin of this salad. However, it rose to popularity in the 1950’s.
During this time, cookouts started to become popular. While many Summer salads contained mayonnaise, 3 Bean Salad was vinegar based.
This made it perfect for outdoor dining and packing for potlucks and such.
- Dark Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- Green Beans
- Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- Red Onion (sliced)
- White Wine Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Granulated Sugar
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Black Pepper
How to make Three Bean Salad:
- Step 1. Rinse the beans. Make sure all of the beans are rinsed with cold water in a colander.
- Step 2. Combine the canned beans and red onions. Place the kidney beans and garbanzo beans in a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the diced red onions.
- Step 3. Mix together the dressing ingredients. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar and olive oil.
- Step 4. Combine the dressing and the beans. Pour this mixture over the bean mixture in a large bowl. Toss to coat the ingredients together.
- Step 5. Salt and pepper the salad. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Step 6. Place in the fridge. Chill for at least 2 hours. Then the salad is ready to serve and enjoy!
How to store:
Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Allow to chill for at least 2 hours. The dressing needs time to soak into the beans. The flavor is enhanced and tastes best this way.
- Thinly Sliced Onion. The onions are best in this recipe when thinly sliced. If you have a Mandoline style slicer, that is the easiest way to quickly and thinly slice the onions.
- Beans. Fresh green beans, wax beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans and more. You can use any combination of beans you like and this side dish will turn out great.
- Veggies. We think onions give it the perfect amount of crunch. However, feel free to omit them and add veggies you love.
Try red, yellow or green bell peppers. Green onions also combine well in this recipe for even more flavor.
- Fresh herbs. Try adding fresh herbs to the salad. Fresh parsley, basil dill or mint all make great options.
- Oil. Olive oil is what we prefer to use. However, you can try using vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil.
- Dressing. Substitute the three bean salad dressing with a vinaigrette made with lemon juice. You can use your favorite or store bought.
- Add protein to the salad. While it makes the perfect side dish, it is also easy to serve as a main dish. Our favorite is diced chicken mixed into the salad. It’s really delicious.
Make ahead option:
This salad is even better made in advance. It needs at least 2 hours in the fridge to let the flavors soak in. You can actually make it up to 3 days before you plan to serve it.
The next time you need a dish for a potluck or cookout, make this delicious recipe. It is easy to store, inexpensive to make and turns out wonderful.
While the ingredients are simple, the flavor is amazing. It is a must try.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, the canned beans need to be rinsed before using in the salad. Many types of beans are packed in a thick mixture or liquid. You don’t want this in the salad so it is best to rinse the beans.
Traditional dressing for a bean salad is tangy and sweet. The combination of both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar with sugar and seasoning give it a zesty flavor.
Yes, this recipe is extremely versatile, and any type of beans can be substituted. Garbanzo, Kidney Beans and Green Beans traditionally are used to make this salad. You can use any type of beans that you like to make this recipe.
While the recipe only calls for 3 different types of beans, you can certainly try more variations. Feel free to try using 4 or even 5 different types of beans.
Print this Recipe for 3 Bean Salad below:
3 Bean Salad
- Rinse all the beans with cold water in a colander.
- Place all the beans in a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the diced red onions.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar and olive oil.
- Pour this mixture over the bean mixture. Toss to coat.
- Season with the salt and pepper.
- Chill for at least 2 hours. Then the salad is ready to serve and enjoy!
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