Perfect 3-Bean Salad

Sweet and sour bean salad
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
392 Calories
7g Fat
64g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 18g 63%
Protein 19g
Calcium 150mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This three-bean salad is the kind of dish that people love at family reunions, potluck dinners, and cookouts. It's that salad that you keep chilled in a cooler and take along to a tailgating party or picnic. It's a combination of several different kinds of beans, and it's versatile and adaptable. The vinaigrette is a simple combination of oil and apple cider vinegar, along with some salt, pepper, and sugar.

It can be difficult to find yellow wax beans in some areas. Consider buying them fresh in season from farmer's markets and freeze them. Use more green beans, canned lima beans, or another vegetable in their place. Fresh beans taste the best, but canned will work, too.

Chickpeas are another good bean to add to the salad. They add a crunchy texture. See the tips and variations below the recipe for more add-ins and serving ideas.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can cut green beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cut yellow wax beans
  • 11 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans (or white)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (green or multiple colors)
  • 1/2 red onion (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Drain the canned green and yellow beans in a colander; transfer them to a large serving bowl.

  2. Drain the kidney beans in a colander; run cold water over them until it runs clear. Add the kidney beans to the bowl with the green and yellow beans.

  3. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and chop it. Peel the red onion and slice it thinly. Add the bell pepper and onion to the beans.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth. Pour the dressing mixture over the vegetables and then toss gently to coat.

  5. Toss the salad until the ingredients are thoroughly coated with the dressing. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

  6. Toss again just before serving.

Recipe Variations

  • Three Bean Salad With Green Onions - Replace the red onion with 1/4 cup of sliced green onions.
  • Bean and Cauliflower Salad - Omit the yellow wax beans. Cut florets from 1/2 of a medium head of cauliflower and add them to the salad with the beans.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of drained pimiento to the salad along with the bell peppers.
  • Four Bean Salad - Add chickpeas, black beans, or white kidney beans to the salad.
  • Garnish the bean salad with hard-boiled egg slices, diced tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley, crumbled bacon, or sliced pepper rings.
  • Serve the salad on romaine lettuce leaves with tomato wedges or avocado slices.