Three Bean Salad – Dinner at the Zoo

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This three bean salad is a blend of kidney beans, green beans and garbanzo beans, all tossed in a sweet and sour dressing. A classic salad that’s easy to make and is the perfect addition to almost any meal!

I love a good salad, some of my favorites include pesto pasta salad and Mexican coleslaw. This three bean salad is so good that I can make a whole meal out of it! Best of all, it takes just 10 minutes to prepare.

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Three bean salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans in a homemade dressing.

Growing up, we always had a big jar of three bean salad in the fridge. My mom would buy it at Costco and it made for the perfect easy snack or side dish. My homemade three bean salad is a million times better than the store bought version, and it takes just minutes to make!

How do you make three bean salad?

This salad is a blend of kidney beans, garbanzo beans and green beans. Traditionally, this salad is made with canned green beans, but I use fresh green beans here and it makes a huge difference with the flavor and texture. The beans get tossed with a little red onion and a homemade dressing that takes just 2 minutes to make. Add a sprinkling of parsley and you’re ready to eat!

Green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and red onion in a bowl.

Do you need to rinse canned beans?

The kidney beans and garbanzo beans in this recipe are packed in a thick liquid that I always like to rinse off before proceeding with the recipe. Simply place your beans in a colander and rinse them under cold running water for best results.

Three types of beans and red onion topped with salad dressing and chopped parsley.

How do you blanch green beans?

The green beans in this recipe are blanched, which means that they’re lightly cooked in boiling water just until tender. Transfer your cooked green beans to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process; this also helps them retain their bright green color.

A spoonful of three bean salad garnished with fresh parsley.

Tips for Three Bean Salad

  • This salad is actually best made at least 2 hours before you plan to serve it. You can make your salad up to 3 days before you plan to eat it, and the beans will marinate in the dressing.
  • I typically use parsley in my three bean salad because I always have it on hand, but other great options include green onions or fresh dill.
  • I use a mandoline to get ultra thin shavings of red onion.
  • Serve this salad as a side dish, or add some protein like cooked cubed chicken for a main course offering.
  • While I recommend using fresh green beans for the best flavor and texture, you can also use canned green beans if needed.

A serving bowl of three bean salad garnished with a sprinkle of parsley.

Bean Salad variations

While I love this salad as-is, sometimes I mix thing up a bit by including other types of beans! You still want about 5 1/2 – 6 cups of beans total, but you can add in different varieties for a different flavor.

  • Four Bean Salad: Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, wax beans
  • Five Bean Salad: Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, wax beans, cannellini beans
  • Six Bean Salad: Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, wax beans, cannellini beans, lima beans
  • Seven Bean Salad: Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, wax beans, cannellini beans, lima beans, pinto beans

No matter what type of beans you choose, this salad is always a huge hit!

More great salad recipes

Three bean salad video

Three Bean Salad

This three bean salad is a blend of kidney beans, green beans and garbanzo beans, all tossed in a sweet and sour dressing. A classic salad that’s easy to make and is the perfect addition to almost any meal!

Keyword bean salad, three bean salad

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes or until just tender. Place the green beans in a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain and pat dry.

  • Place the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, red onion and parsley in a large bowl.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

  • Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours or up to three days, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5.1% | Vitamin C: 6% | Calcium: 1.4% | Iron: 2.4%

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