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Healthy 3-Bean Salad

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This healthy 3-bean salad recipe is a light, refreshing side dish for summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks. The simple tangy dressing is unbelievable!

a spoon scooping up healthy three bean salad from a white bowl

Have you tried three bean salad before? I love it! This classic bean salad recipe is a longtime staple at salad bars, summer picnics, delis, and barbecues. The bright colors, savory flavors, and delicious tangy dressing make it incredible.

Like other summer classics (like corn on the cobb, watermelon, potato salad, etc.) It’s a great side dish for all kinds of summer favorites, from BBQ Ribs to juicy burgers, grilled chicken, and more. We lightened up the recipe by cutting down on the sugar and naturally-sweetening the dressing.

This healthy 3-bean salad is fresh, light, and SO easy to make. Here’s all you need to get started…

ingredients for three bean salad

Simple Ingredients To Get Started

  • Fresh Green Beans. I like to make 3-bean salad with fresh green beans! You can’t beat the bright green color. That said, you can use canned green beans in a pinch. (Or cook frozen green beans!)
  • Red Kidney Beans. Some red beans add a beautiful color contrast next to the green beans. These creamy beans taste AMAZING in the salad dressing.
  • Chickpeas. Also known as garbanzo beans! These small, round beans are famous for hummus, but they add a great flavor and texture to this salad.
  • Red Onion. For another savory layer of flavor.
  • Fresh Parsley. Some fresh herbs add brightness and round out the flavor of this salad. So lovely!
  • A Simple Homemade Dressing. Apple cider vinegar, olive oil, agave, salt, and pepper add simple, tangy, delicious flavor. This bean salad dressing creates a marinade for the veggies and tastes INCREDIBLE!

Other Veggies To Try

Part of what’s fun about this bean salad recipe is all the ways to make it! Try adding yellow wax beans, diced cucumber, fresh celery, diced red bell peppers, or another variety of canned beans, like black beans or white beans (cannellini beans, great northern beans, or butter beans).

making healthy three bean salad step by step

How To Make Healthy 3-Bean Salad, Step By Step

As always, you can find detailed instructions, ingredient amounts, and nutritional estimates in the recipe card below.

  1. Cook The Green Beans. Heat a small pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and cook 2-3 minutes, or just until tender. Drain the green beans and immediately add to an ice bath to stop the cooking. (An ice bath = a bowl of ice and water)
  2. Mix Up The Dressing. In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, agave, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. 
  3. Combine Salad Ingredients. Add the chilled green beans to the bowl with the dressing, along with kidney beans, chickpeas, red onion, and parsley. Stir to combine. (It will seem like a lot of dressing. This is normal!) 
  4. Marinate. Transfer the salad to an airtight container (or cover the bowl), and chill in the fridge 2-3 hours, up to 1 day in advance. This will allow the salad to absorb more of the flavor. Serve & Store. Enjoy chilled, and store leftover salad up to 4 days in the fridge. 
white serving bowl off three bean salad

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best 3 Bean Salad

What Are The Types of Beans In Three Bean Salad? Different recipes will use different combinations, but my favorite combination of beans for this salad is green beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas.

How Long Does 3 Bean Salad Last In The Fridge? This bean salad will stay fresh in the fridge for about 4 days. For food safety, it should not be out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours.

Can I Use Maple Syrup Instead? I prefer using agave or white sugar for this bean salad recipe. I find honey and maple syrup impact the flavor too much.

3 Bean salad in a white bowl with a serving spoon

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Healthy Three-Bean Salad recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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a spoon scooping up healthy three bean salad from a white bowl

Healthy 3-Bean Salad


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  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups salad 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This easy bean salad recipe is the perfect fresh side dish for your next BBQ, potluck, or picnic! It’s fresh, light, and so easy to make. 


Ingredients

Scale

For The Three Bean Salad:

  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 12 inch lengths
  • 1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

For The Homemade Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons agave syrup (or sugar)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook The Green Beans. Heat a small pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and cook 2-3 minutes, or just until tender. Drain the green beans and immediately add to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
  2. Mix Up The Dressing. In a large bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, agave, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Combine Salad Ingredients. Add the chilled green beans to the bowl with the dressing, along with kidney beans, chickpeas, red onion, and parsley. Stir to combine. (It will seem like a lot of dressing. This is normal!)
  4. Marinate. Transfer the salad to an airtight container (or cover the bowl), and chill in the fridge 2-3 hours, up to 1 day in advance. This will allow the salad to absorb more of the flavor.
  5. Serve & Store. Enjoy chilled, and store leftover salad up to 4 days in the fridge. It’s normal for the olive oil to harden when it’s cold, but it’ll thaw quickly at room temperature. I recommend pulling it out 10 minutes or so before you plan to serve it, for best results. 

Notes

  • Green Beans. I love using fresh beans for the brightest color and flavor, but you can use frozen green beans (cook the same way as fresh!) or even canned beans. (No need to cook canned beans!)
  • Agave. I prefer using agave or white sugar for this salad. I find honey and maple syrup impact the flavor too much.
  • More Veggies To Try. For variety, try adding yellow wax beans, diced cucumber, diced red bell peppers, or another variety of canned beans, like black beans or white beans (like cannellini beans, great northern beans, or butter beans).
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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