Made with good for you, plant-based ingredients, this classic three bean salad is the perfect side dish for your next backyard barbecue! This recipe is ready in just 5 minutes and packed with flavor, without having to use sugar.
Bean salad is a classic American side salad made up of canned beans that are marinated in a vinaigrette. It’s a staple at picnics and potlucks, because it doesn’t require refrigeration and takes less than 10 minutes to throw together!
This recipe is just like the 1950's classic BUT BETTER - the main step is still “dump and stir:” open the canned beans and stir everything together! BUT I couldn't just leave it at that, I needed to freshen up this dish by removing the sugar entirely and adding fresh ingredients that enhance the flavor.
This crowd pleasing dish also happens to be totally healthy, high in plant-based protein, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free!
This recipe has very basic ingredients and is actually incredibly affordable! Hopefully, some of these ingredients could be considered pantry staples that you already have. This three bean salad has no sugar and is marinated in an all-natural lemon, oil & vinegar dressing:
- Canned Beans: Big shocker here, but three types of canned beans will be the base for this salad! We'll be using chickpeas, cannellini beans (aka white beans), and kidney beans.
- Corn: a three bean salad with corn takes it to the next level, seriously. I might be biased because I love corn.
- Shallot: for some crunch and a mild red onion flavor.
- Garlic: you know how I feel about garlic...it has my heart and deserves to be in nearly everything (that's a bit dramatic but whatever).
- Olive Oil: adds flavor and will help to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice and white vinegar!
- Lemon Juice: for a nice zesty addition. You could use a lime if you wanted and turn it into a Mexican three bean salad! I've never tried it but let us know if you do.
- White Vinegar: it adds an extra flavor to this bean salad and actually helps preserve it!
- Salt & Pepper
How to Make this Three Bean Salad
This is truly the fastest and easiest side salad you'll ever make:
- Drain and rinse all canned ingredients, mince the garlic and shallot. Next, add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. You might want more lemon juice or spices!
- You can serve this immediately but I suggest letting it marinate for at least 1 hour for optimal flavor.
- Make this recipe oil-free by simply omitting the olive oil. If you have an oil-free dressing you like - toss that in instead!
- Add veggies like carrots, cherry tomatoes, or green beans to make it a bit heartier.
- You can totally use uncooked beans and get the same result - it's just going to take longer, as you'll need to cook the beans!
- If you don't like a particular bean, take it out and increase the amount of the other two beans that you do like or replace it with a different bean entirely! For example, use pinto or black beans and transform this recipe into a Mexican three bean salad.
- Use red onions for a stronger onion flavor, as shallots are a bit milder.
- If you don't want bits of shallot or garlic feel free to use onion and garlic powder. Start with a teaspoon of each and taste to adjust.
- Let it marinate for at least 1-2 hours in the fridge before serving! For the best flavor, you can even make it a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it.
- Be sure to rinse the beans well to ensure that the liquid it's stored in doesn't add any unwanted flavor/extra saltiness to the salad.
This three bean salad will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.
This three bean salad pairs perfectly with so many things! I always initially pair this with barbeque food like vegan burgers or shish kabobs, but it can go with so much more. You could also pair this with some veggies and Portobello or cauliflower steaks. I like to make it a healthy lunch by putting it a scoop of it over romaine lettuce and adding some additional veggies and avocado.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram. If you have any questions or feedback at all, send me an e-mail or leave a comment and review below. I hope you love this dish as much as we do!