I find it incredibly hard to believe a salad so simple has any business being so delicious, but it just is. I can’t seem to get enough of this Classic Three Bean Salad even though it is made with only the simplest of ingredients, and with the simplest of dressings. There is just enough savory crunch from the red onion to keep the flavors grounded, and the creamy beans contrast beautifully with the tangy-sweet dressing.

Whether you are having a barbecue or planning a potluck, this is the perfect side dish to accompany your meal. You can even prepare it on those busy weeknights when you do not have much time to prepare your meal.

A healthy dish, surely Apronese will never miss it, the recipe is below for you to read.

Overhead view of a bowl full of three bean salad

What Beans Go In Three Bean Salad

If you’re curious about how to make a three bean salad, all you need to do is mix some dark kidney beans, cannellini beans, and green beans. You can also use chickpeas, wax beans, purple hull peas, or black eyed peas instead of the three beans.

The three bean salad is a really flexible dish, and you can replace the beans whenever you’re not feeling like cooking, or even add more than three beans if you’re so inclined to do so.

One of the most important things to remember when choosing beans is that you want to have a variety of colors, textures, and shapes. Make sure to include at least one creamy bean as well when choosing beans.

What is the Dressing Like?

Basically, this classic three bean salad is prepared with a very basic, slightly sweet vinaigrette flavored with just a touch of Dijon.

I don’t know if you could make your own dressing but you could possibly substitute it for something like bottled Italian dressing if you don’t want to make your own, but that would have a completely different flavor than what you would have in the homemade dressing.

Three Bean Salad: What to Serve

There is nothing quite like this sweet-tart three bean salad to pair with other sweet-savory flavors like BBQ sauce. It’s perfect for a sweet-tart meal.

I served it with my BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken this week as a side dish. If you were to prepare something such as Glazed Ham Steaks, Honey Mustard Wings, Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loins, Baked Chicken Drumsticks, or BBQ Tofu Sliders as a side dish, it would also be a great complement to it.

Does It Last for a Long Time?

There are a few recipes that actually improve in flavor as you let them sit in the fridge for a while. This salad is one of those recipes that actually improves with time.

As the beans begin to soak up the flavors of the dressing, it becomes incredibly tasty. You’ll probably be able to keep this salad in the fridge for about four days (if you don’t eat it all in that time).

Classic three bean salad on a plate with chicken and potato salad

Classic Three Bean Salad

It takes just a few simple ingredients for this Classic Three Bean Salad to turn it into a summer side dish that is perfect for potlucks, barbecues, and just about every other occasion in between.

Author: Beth

Prep Time: 15 mins/ Marinate: 30 mins/ Total Time: 45 mins

Servings: 5 (1 cup each)


  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans ($0.50)
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans ($0.55)
  • 1.5 cups frozen green beans (thawed) ($0.44)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley ($0.17)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion ($0.05)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ($0.24)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.64)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.03)


  • The kidney beans and the cannellini beans need to be rinsed and drained before being put into a bowl with green beans that have been thawed and the kidney beans.
  • The cut onion should be rinsed thoroughly in ice water in a bowl for about five minutes, then drained and finely diced. Chop the parsley, and then add it to the beans and the onions. Combine the onion and parsley in the bowl and serve.
  • A separate bowl should be used to whisk the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard together before using.
  • In a large bowl, combine the beans, onion, and parsley, then pour the dressing over the top. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Just before serving, stir the bean salad vigorously just before serving to redistribute the dressing throughout the salad so all the beans will maintain an even distribution of the dressing. Transfer the bean salad to the refrigerator and let it marinate for about 30 minutes before serving.


Serving: 1 cup ・ Calories: 301 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 41 g ・ Protein: 13 g ・ Fat: 11 g ・ Sodium: 666 mg ・ Fiber: 12 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

close up of three bean salad in the bowl

How to Make Three Bean Salad – Step by Step Photos

Three types of beans in a bowl

In a bowl, combine 1.5 cups of thawed frozen green beans with 15 oz. cans of kidney beans and 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans. Rinse and drain both cans of beans before adding them to the bowl.

red onion slices soaking in a bowl of water

The red onion should be cut into thin slices and soaked in ice water for about five minutes (this removes the sharp edge of their flavor).

Finely dice about 1/4 cups of the red onion, and chop about 1/4 cup of fresh parsley.

dressing for three bean salad in a bowl

A combination of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cups of olive oil, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard should be whisked together thoroughly.

dressing being poured over salad ingredients in the bowl

As soon as you have added the onion and parsley to the bowl with the beans, pour the dressing over the top and stir everything together to ensure it is well combined.

Finished three bean salad in the bowl with a spoon

I recommend refrigerating the three bean salad for about 30 minutes before serving it so the beans can marinate more fully. After that, give it a stir and serve right away.

close up of three bean salad on a plate with bbq chicken and potato salad

A salad always appears in your family meal, right? Because it’s easy to make, easy to go with a variety of dishes, healthy and doesn’t take much time, Apronese thinks.

Does your family make bean salad often, is the recipe the same as the classic salad above, please share it with everyone.