Three Bean Salad

VeganBean SaladPicnic 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.

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

  • 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.


  • 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


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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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124 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dale

    Delicious and so easy to prepare. Great side to chicken…


  2. Nancy

    I haven’t made this yet but was wondering if I could use frozen green beans instead of canned? Of course I would cook them and cool before putting them in the salad. Thank you.

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  3. Lindsay

    Perfect side dish with Nashville Hot Chicken and creamy homemade Mac and cheese! The only change we made was sub stevia for the sugar. Amazing! The kids and hubs gobbled it up.


  4. Priscilla

    I made this and it was delicious! The dressing complements the ingredients perfectly, it was just the right amount. I added 1 cup of cooked pearl couscous and used dry herbs, and it still came out tasty. Thank you for the recipe!


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  5. HarSimran

    It was a huge success alongside pizza at a church function. It multiples well, using 6-lb.-12-oz. cans of the beans (or 6 15-oz. cans), and more or less six times all the other ingredients. The recipe is probably great exactly as written. The aromatic touch of fresh rosemary makes it quite special. I jazzed it up a little. I whizzed the dressing ingredients in the blender with a couple of cloves of garlic. (BTW, if your beans are already salted, don’t be tempted to increase the salt in the dressing; the beans will be plenty salty even after rinsing.) I drizzled on another 1/4 cup of olive oil to make it taste richer and hold together better. Mild honey was a good substitute for the white sugar; I used the original amount rather than multiply it by six. And I added two 15-oz. cans of pitted whole black olives, which I sliced in half. (Next time, I might just buy sliced olives!). This recipe is a keeper!


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