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Are you looking to add a burst of flavor to your summer menu? Look no further than this crowd-pleasing Three Bean Salad! It's the best go-to option for summertime gatherings with its refreshing crunch, zesty dressing, and vibrant colors. Everyone will love it!
As the weather gets warmer, light and refreshing dishes with minimal cooking are the way to go. And when it comes to finding the ideal recipe for this season, you'll definitely want to try this delicious Three Bean Salad.
With each forkful, you'll experience a delightful combination of textures and flavors. The crispness of the blanched green beans, the creaminess of the chickpeas, the heartiness of the kidney beans, and the freshness of the parsley—all perfectly balanced and complemented by a zesty vinaigrette.
It's perfect for backyard barbecues, picnics, or beach days or when you just want something light. You can make it ahead of time and it's a cinch to put together, too. Plus, you can customize this recipe easily and use what you have on hand or what your taste buds prefer.
- Green Beans: Using fresh yields the crispest texture, but you can use frozen green beans instead. Just thaw and drain them in a colander over the sink first. You can also use canned green beans too.
- Red Onion + Garlic: You can also use a Vidalia onion (sweet onion) or chopped green onion instead (no need to soak the green onion). If you don't have fresh garlic, 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic will work well.
- Kidney Beans + Chickpeas: You can choose any variety of beans such as pinto beans, black beans, cannellini beans, or navy beans.
- Parsley: A variety of fresh herbs will work here such as cilantro, basil, or dill.
- Red Wine Vinegar + Lemon Juice: Combining these together yields a harmonious balance of tanginess, brightness, and depth, resulting in a well-rounded dressing. I haven't tried this with any other vinegar, but I'd imagine white wine vinegar would work, but I'm not sure if the lemon juice tastes well with it.
- Dijon mustard: Adds an extra zesty punch to the dressing. You can use yellow mustard which will provide a milder flavor or you can omit it altogether.
- Agave: This helps balance the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice. Feel free to use any type of sweetener.
- Dried Oregano + Red Chili Flakes: Italian seasoning is a great replacement for the oregano and the chili flakes are optional.
How to make Three Bean Salad
Look how easy it is to put this dish together:
Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water to cool then drain.
Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, agave, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Combine the salad: In a large bowl, combine the blanched green beans, sliced red onion, kidney beans, chickpeas, and parsley. Gently toss the ingredients together.
Dress the salad: Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to coat everything evenly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Before serving, give it a final toss and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Tips and Tricks
Blanching Green Beans: After blanching the green beans, it's essential to transfer them immediately to an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. This locks in their vibrant green color and crisp texture.
Soaking Red Onion: Soaking the onion in ice water helps mellow its sharp flavor and reduces its pungency while keeping them crisp and vibrant. You can add a little zing to the onions by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the soaking water.
Customizing the Dressing: Feel free to adjust the dressing according to your taste preferences. If you prefer a tangier flavor, you can increase the amount of lemon juice or red wine vinegar or reduce it for a milder dressing. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, add a touch more agave or maple syrup.
Letting it Chill: Allowing the Three Bean Salad to chill for at least an hour before serving is recommended. This time allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste of the salad. Additionally, chilling the salad helps to maintain its refreshing quality, making it an ideal dish for summer gatherings.
After preparing this Three Bean Salad, it's important to store it properly to maintain its freshness. Transfer the salad to an airtight container or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Then, place it in the refrigerator.
When stored in the refrigerator, it can typically last for about 3 to 4 days. If you're planning to make it for a specific event or gathering, it's ideal to prepare it no more than a day in advance or on the same day for optimal taste, texture, and color.
Absolutely! This Three Bean Salad is versatile, and you can customize it to your liking. Feel free to add cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, olives, celery, chives, or even some vegan feta cheese for an extra burst of flavor.
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Three Bean Salad
- 8 ounces fresh green beans cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups - measured cut)
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion soaked in a small bowl of ice water for 10 mins, then drained.
- (1) 15-ounce can kidney beans , drained and rinsed
- (1) 15-ounce can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , more to taste
- 2 garlic cloves , grated
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar , or any sweetener
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt +more for blanching green beans
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1 Large bowl for ice bath and serving
- 1 Med/Large Pot
- Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Strain the beans and immediately place them into the ice water for about 30-60 seconds until cooled. Remove the ice then drain the beans again and set aside.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, agave, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside.
- Combine and dress the salad: In a large bowl, (you can use the same one that was used for chilling green beans) add the onion, chickpeas, kidney beans, green beans, and parsley, and gently toss combine. Now pour the dressing on top and toss again to combine. Cover and chill for 1 hour, tossing midway through. Taste for seasoning then serve.