Three Bean Salad

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This Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad is the perfect simple and fresh make-ahead side dish for summer. It’s packed with crisp-tender green beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, purple onion, and fresh rosemary all tossed in a homemade tangy red wine vinaigrette dressing. 

Top down view of bean salad next to a wooden spoon.

Easy 3 Bean Salad Recipe

Looking for a super simple and fresh side dish to bring to potlucks, picnics, BBQs, or just to enjoy at home? This three bean salad recipe is it!

This delicious fresh salad is made with three different types of beans, a couple of additional mix-ins, and a super simple homemade, sugar-free dressing. The result is a fresh, super flavorful dish that everyone will love.

And bonus: it’s so customizable! Swap in more of your favorite beans, add in other fresh veggies, or use another dressing. The variation possibilities are endless! 

What is Three Bean Salad Made Of?

This sugar free three bean salad is made with, of course, three types of beans along with a couple of other add-ins! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Green Beans: I like to blanch fresh green beans for this salad. The crisp-tender texture is unmatched by canned green beans!
  • Canned Beans: Our two other beans for this three bean salad recipe are chickpeas and cannellini beans. 
  • Purple Onion: Diced purple onion adds a bright, tangy flavor to the salad. 
  • Rosemary: I love the flavor of fresh, chopped rosemary. 
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette: We’re soaking our 3 bean salad in a simple homemade red wine vinaigrette with no sugar added. 

How to Make Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

This easy three bean salad recipe comes together in a total of 20 minutes! 

See the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add in the green beans and cook until bright green but still crisp. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice bath. Drain again and place into a large bowl.
  2. Combine the green beans with chickpeas, cannellini beans, rosemary, red onion, and dressing, then toss to combine. Place into the fridge for a couple of hours or ideally overnight. 
Green beans in water in a pan.
Bean salad topped with dressing in a glass bowl.

Tips and Notes

  • Rinse the beans. Don’t forget to drain the liquid out of the cans of beans and rinse them with cold water. This helps remove excess starch and salt for a fresher texture.
  • Chop the onions small. Purple onions have a pretty strong flavor, so I recommend dicing them pretty darn small so the onion is well-distributed throughout the salad. We don’t want any big chunks!
  • Make it ahead of time! I highly recommend making this salad a day in advance so it can sit in the fridge overnight. Allowing it to sit gives the dressing time to really soak into everything for the best flavor. 

Variations

  • Try other beans. Add in more beans or swap the beans listed out for another variety. Try kidney beans, wax beans, lima beans, or pinto beans! 
  • Use other mix-ins. Give your salad some extra flavor and texture by adding in minced garlic, chopped celery, fresh parsley, cooked and crumbled bacon, or corn. 
  • Brighten it up. Stir in a squeeze of lime juice or swap the red wine vinaigrette out for apple cider vinegar dressing
  • Add a grain. Want to bulk your salad up even more? Try mixing in a scoop of cooked and cooled quinoa. 

Serving Suggestions

Three bean salad is a summer classic, so I love to enjoy it next to my favorite summer recipes! Here are a few ideas:

Storage

Refrigerator: Leftover three bean salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Freezer: To freeze three bean salad, wrap it tightly in a freezer-safe container and store it for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge. 

Close up view beans tossed in dressing.

Not only is this three bean salad flavorful and delicious, but it’s also loaded with good-for-you ingredients: 

  • Green Beans: Green beans are low in calories and in carbohydrates and packed with antioxidants, fiber, and folic acid.
  • Garbanzo and Cannellini Beans: Both garbanzo and cannellini beans are great sources of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and fiber. 

Not at all! Three bean salad is made with green beans, garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans—all of which are actually super low in carbs. 

So, if you’re following a low-carb diet (or even if you’re not) this recipe is perfect for you! 

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Three bean salad next to a large wooden spoon.

Three Bean Salad

4.5 from 2 votes
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Author: Kim
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 23 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, fresh, ends trimmed and beans halved
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans, 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • cup purple onion, diced
  • ¼ cup rosemary, fresh, chopped
  • ¾ cup red wine vinaigrette

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the green beans into water for 2 to 3 minutes until they’re bright green but still crisp. Drain, and transfer to an ice bath. Drain a second time, and transfer the beans to a large bowl.
    1 pound green beans
  • Add the chickpeas, cannellini beans, rosemary, red onion, and the red wine vinaigrette. Toss to combine. 
    15 ounces chickpeas
    15 ounces cannellini beans
    ⅓ cup purple onion
    ¼ cup rosemary
    ¾ cup red wine vinaigrette
  • Cover and let the salad set overnight in the refrigerator. The following day, set it out to come to warm slightly, and serve.
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and storage recommendations.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of bean salad. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
 
*If desired, serve with extra dressing on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 7gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 98mgPotassium: 234mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 343IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of More Than Meat and Potatoes and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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