3-Bean Salad Recipe - Vegan Food from USA

3-bean Salad

3-Bean Salad Recipe - Vegan Food from USA
Region / culture: USA | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 5 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegan diet


3-bean Salad
3-bean Salad

The 3-bean salad is a vibrant and nutritious dish that combines the textures and flavors of different beans with a tangy dressing. This salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a refreshing side dish for any meal. It's easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time, and is sure to be a hit with both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.


The 3-bean salad has its roots in American cuisine, with variations of the recipe appearing in cookbooks and family recipe collections for decades. It gained popularity in the mid-20th century as canned goods became more available, making it easier for home cooks to prepare the dish without the need for fresh beans. Over time, the recipe has evolved to include fresh ingredients and a variety of beans, making it a versatile and beloved dish.


How to prepare

  1. Cook the green beans according to the instructions on the package, then drain them.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, bell pepper, and onion.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, oil, dry mustard, black pepper, and garlic, then pour the mixture over the bean mixture.
  4. Toss everything together to combine, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.


  • Consider adding other ingredients such as corn, avocado, or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for added flavor and texture. For a heartier salad, include quinoa or farro. To make it spicier, add a diced jalapeƱo or a dash of hot sauce to the dressing.
  • There are many ways to customize this salad to suit your taste preferences:
  • Add other types of beans, such as black beans or chickpeas, for additional variety.
  • Include chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, for extra flavor.
  • Swap the red bell pepper for another crunchy vegetable, like cucumber or celery.
  • Consider adding other beans such as chickpeas or black beans for more variety. You can also include fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for added flavor, or throw in some diced avocado for creaminess.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best flavor and texture, use fresh or frozen green beans and cook them just until tender-crisp. When mixing the salad, be gentle to avoid crushing the beans. For the best taste, let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the 3-bean salad chilled as a side dish with grilled meats, fish, or a vegetarian main course. It also makes a great addition to a buffet or picnic spread.

Cooking Techniques

For the best texture, blanch the green beans quickly in boiling water then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This technique preserves their color and crispness.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have white vinegar, apple cider vinegar makes a good substitute. Honey can replace sugar for a natural sweetness, and olive oil can be used instead of vegetable oil for a healthier fat option.

Make Ahead Tips

This salad tastes best when made ahead of time, allowing the flavors to blend. Prepare it the night before and keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad in a clear glass bowl to showcase the colorful beans and vegetables. Garnish with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of paprika for an extra touch of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs well with barbecue dishes, roasted chicken, or grilled seafood. It also complements other picnic favorites like potato salad and coleslaw.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This dish is best enjoyed cold, so no reheating is necessary.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of this 3-bean salad contains approximately 150 calories, making it a light and healthy option that can fit into any diet.


This 3-bean salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the majority coming from the beans and vegetables. A serving contains approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake.


The salad is low in fat, with most of it coming from the vegetable oil in the dressing. Each serving contains about 5 grams of fat, which is primarily unsaturated and considered a healthy fat.


Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. This salad provides about 7 grams of protein per serving, making it a great option for vegetarians and those looking to increase their protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

The 3-bean salad is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C from the bell peppers, Vitamin K, and iron from the green beans, and folate and manganese from the kidney beans. It's a nutritious choice that contributes to a balanced diet.


This recipe is free from most common allergens, including gluten, dairy, nuts, and eggs. However, those with specific food sensitivities should check the labels on canned beans and other ingredients for potential cross-contamination.


Overall, the 3-bean salad is a nutritious dish that is low in calories and fats, moderate in proteins, and rich in vitamins and minerals. It's a healthy addition to any meal and suitable for a wide range of dietary needs.


The 3-bean salad is a timeless dish that combines nutrition, flavor, and versatility. Whether you're looking for a healthy side dish, a potluck contribution, or a make-ahead meal, this salad fits the bill. With its simple preparation and wholesome ingredients, it's a recipe that's sure to become a staple in your cooking repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I discovered this recipe for 3-bean Salad. It was a hot summer day, much like today, and I was visiting my dear friend Martha for a cookout in her backyard. Martha was known for her delicious dishes and always seemed to have a new recipe up her sleeve. As soon as I tasted her 3-bean Salad, I knew I had to learn how to make it myself.

Martha was more than happy to share the recipe with me and she explained that it was a family recipe that had been passed down for generations. The combination of the three different beans, along with the tangy dressing, created a perfect balance of flavors that was both refreshing and satisfying. I knew that this salad would be a hit at all of my future gatherings with friends and family.

I watched closely as Martha prepared the salad, taking notes on each step and ingredient she used. She started by rinsing and draining a can of green beans, then added them to a large mixing bowl. Next, she opened a can of kidney beans and black beans, rinsed them as well, and added them to the bowl. The colors of the beans together created a beautiful display that was almost too pretty to eat.

For the dressing, Martha combined olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. She whisked the ingredients together until the sugar had dissolved and then poured the dressing over the beans. Using a large spoon, she gently tossed everything together, making sure that each bean was coated evenly with the dressing.

The aroma of the salad was enticing, and I couldn't wait to dig in. When Martha finally gave me a taste, I was blown away by how delicious it was. The beans were tender yet still had a nice crunch to them, and the dressing had the perfect amount of sweetness and acidity. I knew that I had to make this recipe my own and share it with my loved ones.

Over the years, I have made this 3-bean Salad countless times, always receiving compliments and requests for the recipe. I have tweaked it here and there, adding my own personal touches and experimenting with different types of beans and seasonings. Each time I make it, I think back to that summer day with Martha and how grateful I am to have learned such a wonderful recipe.

I have shared this recipe with my grandchildren, who now make it themselves and continue to pass it down to future generations. It has become a staple at our family gatherings and is always a crowd favorite. I am proud to have added this recipe to my collection of cherished dishes, knowing that it will be enjoyed for years to come.

As I sit here reminiscing about that fateful day with Martha, I can't help but smile at the memories we made and the delicious food we shared. The 3-bean Salad will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the joy that comes from cooking and sharing good food with the ones we love. And for that, I am forever grateful.


| American Recipes | Bean Salad Recipes | Green Bean Recipes | Kidney Bean Recipes | Red Bell Pepper Recipes | Vegan Bean And Legume Recipes | Vegan Side Dish Recipes | Wax Bean Recipes |

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