Three Bean Salad

Easy three bean salad, perfect for summer picnics and potlucks! With cannellini beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, celery, red onion, parsley, and a sweet and sour dressing.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

3-bean salad is one of those quintessential American summer picnic foods. It’s comforting, protein-rich, and easy to put together quickly with pantry ingredients.

3-bean salad is usually made with canned green beans instead of the cannellini white beans I’m using here. But I’ve yet to meet a canned green bean I like, so cannellini it is.

This bean salad is traditionally dressed with a sweet and sour dressing made with vinegar, oil, and sugar. You can cut back the sugar if you want, but I wouldn’t cut it out completely, or the dressing will be too acidic.

Three Bean Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 8

We are using cannellini beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans in this salad. You can easily swap out any of them for cooked green beans, wax beans, or black beans.

Prep the onion first and soak the chopped onion in a  small bowl of water to take the edge off the onion while you prep the other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine (about 3/4 cup), soaked in water to take the edge off the onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup loosely packed, fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method

1 In a large bowl, mix the 3 different types of beans, the celery, onion (drained of soaking water), parsley, and rosemary.

2 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

3 Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.

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Three Bean Salad

Showing 4 of 64 Comments

  • Nikki Souza

    Hi! How long can this stay refrigerated before it needs to be thrown away? Thanks!

  • Chimene Stewart

    Good recipe. I tweaked by adding: one small can of tuna and chopped kalamata olives to the salad, and 1/2 tsp of dijon to the dressing. Big hit with the entire Family!

  • Kathryn Ruhl

    Yum…l add chopped red peppers and buttered pickes and raw honey instead of sugar. Great healthy dish.

  • Erica

    This dish is always a hit at our parties. It think has become expected we bring it now. We make a couple changes though. We use cucumber instead of celery and we add red vinegar. Delicious!!!

  • Becky

    I’m confused about the parsley. Is it 1 cup loosely packed leaves that are then chopped finely OR is it 1 cup of finely chopped parsley.

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