Dilled Bean Salad

Dilled Bean Salad

No summer is complete without a good bean salad. It’s actually one of the first things I learned to make when I ventured out on my own after college. Sonja’s bean salad showed up at several cookouts in that era, religiously prepared each time by meticulously following the magical measurements scribbled down on a post-it note after calling home to my mom to get the recipe.

Things have changed a bit since then, and I’ve realized salads are more of an art than a science. I’ve learned that you can add your own quantities olive oil and vinegar, and then taste and adjust. You don’t have to put in that white sugar unless you want a sweet twist, and you can put in less than the recipe calls for (or substitute honey). You can add aromatics like onion or garlic for some oomph. And you can put in whatever beans you want (not just the ones the recipe says). Or grains for that matter. Or other veggies.

Basically, the sky’s the limit. But simplicity is also key. This bean salad is just one of a plethora of takes on the familiar theme, but we particularly enjoyed it for its simple, fresh flavors. We purposely left out vinegar (almost a sin in this household!) to bring out the simplicity of the garlic and dill, which worked well and made for a savory meld of flavors. Of course, feel free to adjust to your own taste preferences, and add acidity or sweetness to your liking!

Try it out as a side for the last of the summer barbeques – or toss over a serving of bulgur (my new favorite grain!) for a lunch or light dinner.

What’s your favorite bean salad variation?

Thanks to Judy for the delicious inspiration!


Dilled Bean Salad

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 8 as a side


  • 1 white onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 15-ounce can kidney beans (1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 15-ounce can black beans (1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Finely chop the onion and celery stalks. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Drain the beans and rinse them under cool water.
  2. In an airtight container, mix beans, celery, onion, and garlic with 2 tablespoons dried dill, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Dill has to be one of my favorite herbs. It looks especially good in this bean salad!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    This sounds so good. My dill plant has gotten huge so I am always on the lookout for a recipe with dill. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    it looks great.. we make in Turkey salad with bean and called “piyaz”, made with bean,onion, parsley, vinegar and lemon juice..

  • Reply
    Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese?
    August 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    This looks so good! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 3:56 am

    This looks promising. Haven’t tried bean salad before but certainly looking forward to try it.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 10:26 am

    That is a gorgeous salad! So colorful and appetizing. I love the addition of dill.



  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Oh my gosh….In LOVE with this one. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Love the bean salad today guys :)

  • Reply
    Barefoot Pregnant and In The Kitchen
    August 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This sounds so yummy! I happen to have a bunch of dill and beans… I’ll have to make this to go with dinner tonight.

  • Reply
    Sneh | Cook Republic
    August 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    so fresh and I love the explosion of colours in the bowl! Eating with your eyes indeed.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    This looks fabulous. Great cool lunch for a hot summer day!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    love it, the color, the idea, everything!

  • Reply
    Tammy D
    September 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

    LOL! I was going to make this to take to a cookout last night, but could not remember where I had seen the recipe!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    What a stunning photo! So much color, texture, and beautiful light! Love it!

  • Reply
    Ashleigh Allen
    January 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Great recipe! Simple and fresh. I added a splash of lemon juice to liven it up and bring out the flavors of the other ingredients and it turned out great!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    would anyone know what the calories would be per serving?

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Delicious! I used 4 Tbsp. fresh dill, a very small white onion and only 2 stalks celery. I will definitely make again–consider this recipe pinned!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This looks so good that it made me join the pinterest movement. I have to learn more about this but the recipe makes me want to go in and cook. Thank you.

    • Reply
      July 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      haha, glad we could provide inspiration! Let us know if you have any questions.

  • Reply
    Aislinn Dunster
    March 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Super yummy and fresh! I would cut the salt in half next time and I added an extra clove of garlic : )

  • Reply
    esther kim
    April 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

    THIS IS SO GOOD!! My friends tried it and are hooked and they went home and made their own big batch to eat. I’m making it again b/c my family ate it all up!

    Thank you!!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I try this bean salad for my dads 90th birthday party, Its was a great hit and so easy to make. I think your tip making it the day before was the key so the flavors can mesh. Thanks for the recipe

  • Reply
    July 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I love this dish! Has anyone figured out the caloric intake?

  • Reply
    December 25, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    added a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Heavenly!

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