Classic Three-Bean Salad

from 9 votes

Keep it simple with a timeless recipe for Classic Three-Bean Salad that’s a protein-packed and fiber-rich side dish for all seasons.

A white bowl containing three-bean salad with spoons and glasses next to it

I’m always on the hunt for ways to dress up pantry staples like a good ol’ can of beans. Spruce them up with a fresh veggie or two, whip up a quick-fix dressing and ordinary beans become extraordinary!

I’ve taken a trio of my go-to canned beans and transformed them into Classic Three-Bean Salad. It’s a simple, refreshing and protein-filled side dish that works wonders alongside every entrée imaginable.

A class bowl containing beans, peppers and onions with dressing being poured in

Going beyond its super powers as the ultimate side dish, I also scoop it atop my chopped salads or simple mixed greens for big flavor in every bite.

A cutting board with diced green peppers and red onion on top

Classic three-bean salad has been around for decades (centuries?). My grandmother made a version starring a similar vinegar-based dressing, and my mom shared this re-creation with me.

I’ve tweaked it a bit, subbing out the vegetable oil for olive oil in a bid to squeeze in some healthy fats.

A glass bowl containing beans, onions and peppers

The great news is that you really can’t go wrong with using this recipe as a template. Grab any varieties of the below ingredients for a flavor win:

  • Canned beans
  • Fresh veggies
  • Vinegar
  • Oil
  • Sugar

Prefer white beans? Toss ’em in! Not a fan of green peppers? Leave ’em out! Dislike red onions? Try milder, sweeter yellow onions!

My biggest tip when it comes to three-bean salad: The longer it marinates, the better the flavor will be. So don’t hesitate to let this big bowl-o-beans go for a longer-than-average soak in the fridge before digging in.

A white bowl with bean salad and plates next to it

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Side Dish

Classic Three-Bean Salad

Keep it simple with a timeless recipe for Classic Three-Bean Salad that's a protein-packed and fiber-rich side dish for all seasons.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 9 votes
A white bowl containing three-bean salad with spoons and glasses next to it
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can cut green beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar


  • In a large bowl, combine the green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion and bell pepper. 
  • In a small saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon pepper until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Cook the mixture for 2 minutes then pour it over the bean mixture and thoroughly toss to combine. 
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. (See Kelly's Notes.)

Kelly's Notes:

  • This salad really is best if you let it marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight, so don't hesitate to make it a day in advance.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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5 from 9 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. I know this recipe is very healthy but was wondering if you could list the nutrition value. Thank you in advance.

  2. I love this salad. I have not had it for a very long time. I am going to try this recipe. I have a question. I do not recall garbanzo beans. Can I use a different bean?

    1. It was amazing! I used vegetable oil instead of olive oil and celery instead of bp…and cut back a little on the sugar

  3. 5 stars
    My husband loves this recipe! It is timeless and oh so healthy. I use Grapeseed oil instead of olive, it has a lighter taste.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Since I was making it for a crowd, I added a can of black beans. I also stirred in diced onion, celery, and sweet peppers. The salad dressing proportions were perfect. Even though I forgot to heat the dressing as instructed (oops!) it was still fabulous!

  5. We love this recipe (although my old recipe caked for wax beans and celery). But now that’s it’s only the 2 of us, wondering if I could freeze half of it. Would the veggies survive?

    1. Hi Linda! It should last up to a couple of months when stored in a freezer-safe, airtight container.

  6. This recipe is probably enough to last my husband and I (just two of us) probably a week. Will this recipe last that long in the refrigerator? I’d prefer not to cut the recipe in half because I don’t want to waste the leftover canned items. Thank you.

    1. Hi Betty! This salad will last for up to a few days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

  7. this is very good but I used fresh green beans and some times I use red wine vinegar. also good with some black beans in it. or use fresh green onion in it just to mix it up at times. I also have put small shrimp in also good.

  8. 5 stars
    I LOVE 3-bean salad. Haven’t made this one yet but it’s on the front burner. I have a recipe from my sister-in-law that she gave me about 70 years ago. Thank you for this and the walk down memory lane.