Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing is the perfect summer side.
Three Bean Salad is an easy side dish to make with the kids in the kitchen. You steam the green beans and let them drain and rinse (and smush some of) the kidney beans and the garbanzo beans. Kids love using a whisk to mix the dressing together, and it’s a great way to get them excited to eat some nutritious veggies!
The great thing about the dressing is that it is more or less a marinade. The beans need time to soak up the sweet and sour dressing before serving, so this isn’t a dish you want to toss together and serve right away, it won’t have the old fashioned three bean salad flavors you’re looking for.
More Great Summer Side Dishes
This Three Bean Salad recipe is made with fresh green beans even though canned are easier. It’s the crunch and freshness of the green beans that makes it so popular when served. Just trim and cut them before microwaving them for a few minutes. The easiest way to steam quickly is just to add the vegetables to a glass bowl and cover with a wet paper towel. The paper towel creates steam inside the bowl and prevents the vegetables from drying out.
Since this Three Bean Salad recipe contains no dairy, it is perfect for a summer potluck or picnic to feed a crowd. The tangy crunch tastes great alongside classic cookout favorites like Cornbread, Coleslaw, and Easy Pasta Salad.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Three Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney and Green Beans
Four Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Wax and Green Beans
Five Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Lima, Wax and Green Beans
Six Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Black Eyed Peas, Cranberry, Lima, Wax and Green Beans
Yes! In fact, you’ll want to give this salad plenty of time in the refrigerator after combining ingredients, so it is best made the night before.
Try using olive oil in place of canola, or red wine vinegar instead of white. Keep in mind there will be a slightly stronger flavor from those ingredients, but the rest of the seasonings will balance it out.
Other Classic Side Salads
How to Store Three Bean Salad
- Serve: Keep Three Bean Salad at room temperature for up to 2 hours before refrigerating.
- Store: Three Bean Salad will keep keep well in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze this recipe as it will have a mushy texture when it thaws.
- 1 pound green beans , trimmed and cut
- 1/2 red onion , sliced thinly
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans , drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- parsley , for garnish (optional)
- Add the green beans to a large glass bowl with a tablespoon of water and cover with a wet paper towel.
- Microwave for 3 minutes then let cool while cutting the onions.
- Add everything else but the parsley to the bowl and stir together.
- Refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours before garnishing with parsley and serving.
Photo used in a previous version of this post.