Easy three bean salad is a delicious way to enjoy one of summer’s best veggies. Slightly sweet and sour, you’ll find this recipe is the perfect side dish at barbecues and picnics.

Three bean salad with canned beans

This delicious 3 bean salad is one of those classic potluck dishes, like macaroni salad or deviled eggs, that should be at every summer party. It’s easy to make and served cold or at room temperature, and it’s vegan/vegetarian, so it is a great dish to pack up and take to a friends house for a BBQ.

We love making good use of all the fresh summer veggies. And fresh beans are one of our favorites vegetables to toss into a salad, we even have an Italian green bean salad that uses Parmesan and sun dried tomatoes.

For this dish we’ll use 3 types of beans and with fresh beans being so abundant this time of year, you’ll have no trouble finding them either in your own garden or at your local farm stand or in the grocery store. 

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A large bowl filled with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans.

Ingredients You’ll Need

When you are ready to make this classic three bean salad recipe, here’s what you’ll need.

  • Fresh wax beans – You can use canned wax beans if you prefer.
  • Fresh green beans – You can use canned green beans, but fresh is better because it gives you a little crunch
  • Kidney beans – We use canned beans to skip preparing the beans before making the salad. You can substitute chickpeas/garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans for the kidney beans as well.
  • Yellow onion – You could also use a white onion or red onion.
  • White vinegar – White wine vinegar also works.
  • Sugar – You’ll need granulated sugar to help balance out the vinegar and give a little sweetness to the dish.
  • Olive oil – You can use extra virgin or regular olive oil.
  • Kosher salt – We prefer Kosher or sea salt, but you could use regular salt.
  • Black pepper – Just a little sprinkle adds extra flavor.
A fork full of three bean salad

Instructions

Here’s what you need to do to make this dish.

Step 1 – Prep the beans. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. You just need to add enough salt to make the water taste salty.

Once it is boiling, place the trimmed and cut wax beans and green beans in the pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until they reach the desired level of tenderness. some people like a little crunch and others like their beans more tender. It’s all up to you.

Next, drain the liquid and rinse the beans with cool water and then pat dry to remove some of the excess water and set aside. Finally, drain and rinse the canned beans.

Step 2 – Prep the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, black pepper, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. 

Step 3 – Bring it all together. In a large bowl, combine the wax beans, green beans, kidney beans, and onion. Next, pour the dressing over them and lightly toss together until coated.

Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Potluck three bean salad ready for a summer party!

Can I Use Canned Beans? 

If you want to use canned green beans and wax beans you can! If you do, just skip the first three steps of the recipe. You can treat the canned green beans and wax beans the same as you do the kidney beans. 

Fresh green and waxed beans generally have a better, fresher flavor. Whenever possible, we like to use fresh. And during the summer, beans are in season and taste even better.

How Long Does 3 Bean Salad Last in the Fridge? 

This salad is best when you eat it the same day you make it. 

But you can safely store it in the fridge for about 2 to 3 days in an airtight container. And since this is served cool, you don’t need to worry about heating it up.

It’s a great recipe for taking to parties or weeknight meal-prep!

Can Three Bean Salad Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze three bean salad following these simple instructions:

  1. Make salad as instructed and then transfer to the appropriate size freezer bag. Remove as much of the air as possible before sealing.
  2. Place in freezer and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to use your three bean salad place it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours to let it defrost completely. This salad is served cold so once it’s fully defrosted it is ready to serve.

We do NOT recommend heating in the microwave to speed up defrosting as this will cook the beans and change the texture of the salad.

Tip: If you want to freeze your bean salad you should do it as soon as you finish making it. That way the beans are at their freshest before they go into the freezer.

We highly recommend portioning it out so you can eat some immediately and freeze the rest for later!

Why is bean salad good for you?

This simple salad is not only delicious it’s good for you. Fresh green beans and wax beans are packed full of vitamins including vitamin C and K as well as essential nutrients. The kidney beans are high in protein and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and K1.

It’s a simple healthy lunch or quick snack that is perfect for busy weekdays!

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Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins

Easy Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad is a classic summer potluck recipe made with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans tossed in a sweet and sour dressing.
Three Bean salad made with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans in a black bowl.
Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Fresh wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pound Fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 15 ounces Kidney beans, canned
  • ½ cup Yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup White vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt + more for salting the boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (add enough salt that the water taste like salt water).
  • Place the trimmed and cut wax beans and green beans in the pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until they reach the desired level of tenderness.
  • Drain and rise beans with cool water. Pat dry to remove some of the excess water and set aside.
  • Drain and rinse the kidney beans.
  • In a small bowl combine vinegar, sugar, olive oil, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk together.
  • In a large bowl combine the wax beans, green beans, kidney beans, and onion. Pour the dressing over them and lightly toss together.
  • Store in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to serve.

Notes

Note: If you want to use canned green beans and wax beans you can! Just skip the first three steps and treat the canned green beans and wax beans the same as you do the kidney beans. 

Nutrition

Serving: 6.5ounces, Calories: 196kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 154mg, Potassium: 468mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 392IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold side dish recipe, potluck recipe, three bean salad