Three Bean Salad Recipe

This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!

Three Bean Salad is one of those excellent salads that shows up at potlucks and backyard barbecues all year long.

Like 24 Hour Fruit Salad, the generations of Midwesterners before me used canned ingredients when they had to. After all, fresh beans could be hard to come by in those days, but that’s no reason to shy away from eating vegetables in the dead of winter.

This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!

And honestly, they are hard to find today, in summer, in California of all places! I can find fresh green beans but not fresh yellow wax beans, but that’s just fine.

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If you get your hands on fresh beans, just give them a quick blanch (see the recipe notes for detailed instructions). If you use canned beans, just drain them well!

I use a classic combination of green beans, waxed beans, and kidney beans, but feel free to use any three beans you want, ever! Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are common in 3 Bean Salad, too.

For the dressing, I use sugar, olive oil, and red wine vinegar flavored with garlic, salt, and pepper.

This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!

The salad flavors have to blend at least 8 hours or overnight, so make this dish a day before you intend to eat it. Because the salad lasts all week in the refrigerator, you can make a large batch and have it for lunch over several days. It’s also great for parties, especially if you have guests with special dietary needs.  Along with being vegan, Three Bean Salad is also gluten-free.

It’s all in a day’s work for the humble string bean.

This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!

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This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!
4.5 from 2 votes
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Three Bean Salad

This classic Three Bean Salad recipe is a favorite side dish at parties. Use fresh beans if you can find them, but canned beans are easy to find and work just as well!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chilling time 4 hours
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 149 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans drained, (see notes)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cut yellow wax beans drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beas drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley minced

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl with a cover that is large enough to hold the salad.

  2. Stir in green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, red onion, and parsley and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to blend flavors.

  3. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving and bring to room temperature.

Recipe Notes

8 ounces EACH fresh green beans and fresh yellow wax beans may be substituted for the canned beans. To blanch the fresh beans, bring 3 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stock pot or saucepan. Add green and yellow beans, return to a boil, and simmer until softened slightly but still tender-crisp and bright in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the beans from cooking.

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7 comments

  1. Healthy eating means staying healthy

  2. did you mean: 8 ounces EACH fresh green beans and fresh yellow wax beans may be substituted for the fresh beans. ?canned beans?

  3. Made your salad. Delicious! Am bringing it to a Thanksgiving dinner.

  4. Good salad, but far too sweet for my tastebuds.  I’ll cut the sugar in half the next time I make this!!

    • I really appreciate the feedback! It tastes the way I remember it, but not everyone grew up in my family. :D I’m going to make notes on the recipe about the sugar so people can start with half and add more to taste. Thanks Elizabeth!

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