This easy bean salad recipe is the most delicious and simple salad to hit your plate. It’s a knock-out vegetarian side dish that’s supremely versatile.
Many of you have told us you adore winter–which I can appreciate–and really, I wish I could say the same. But here’s the thing: I love summer. Maybe it’s because I’m from Minnesota originally, and I grew up with regular sub-zero temperatures. Maybe it’s because I live in Indiana, where fall and winter are dismally gray. Whatever the case, I LOVE SUMMER for so many reasons: wearing no socks (they’re so oppressive, right?), sunshine for days, morning coffee on the porch, going to the splash park, and lazy meals our patio with a glass of rose. Summer is my spirit animal. And so is this summery easy bean salad.
Related:25 Best Salad Recipes
How to make bean salad (and why)
Why bean salad? Well, where I’m from it’s tradition. In Minnesota the summer potluck is all about bean salad. It’s always welcome alongside a burger or salmon at a patio grill out. It’s got Father’s Day recipe written all over it. And bean salad is perfect for sitting on a picnic table for hours on end.
Why make this particular bean salad, when there are so many easy bean salad recipes out there? Well, this one is the most delicious, simplest one we’ve ever had. It’s based on a bean salad that my mom makes, but I made it even simpler. Every time we set out to make a simple recipe, the trade-off is flavor. So as always, we’ve optimized to get the best flavors with the least amount of time and fuss.
The simplest bean salad you’ll have
My mom’s recipe calls for blanching green beans, but since that adds time and complexity we’ve gone with all canned beans in this bean salad recipe. The secret to the flavor is the salad dressing: it’s made with a bit of tomato paste and ketchup, so it has an unexpected earthy undertone. And adding feta cheese brings in a savory flair! If you’re planning to leave this bean salad in the sun at a barbecue, you could omit the feta, but we love the burst of flavor the salty cheese brings. Finally, the combination of green onions and chives adds just the right amount of complexity. If you’re in a pinch and can’t find chives you can omit them, but we recommend using them for the best flavor.
Pro tip on tomato paste: We like buying our tomato paste in a tube! This way, you can keep it in the refrigerator and squeeze out the amount you need. If we buy it in a can, we always end up with a half used can that sits in our refrigerator for months on end and then ends up going bad!
How to serve bean salad
There’s something about bean salad that just says SUMMER, right? It would also be a perfect Father’s Day recipe. This year, we’ve already made it for countless cookouts, so we knew we needed to share it with you. But it’s supremely versatile and works as a side dish any time of the year. Since the ingredients are mostly canned and not fresh, you could easily serve it as a side dish in a vegetarian meal to pile on the protein and nutrients.
Let us know if you try it out: as always, we’re over on Instagram and would love to see your creations!
Looking for more healthy side dish recipes?
This easy bean salad is a fantastic healthy side dish recipe; here are a few more side dish recipes:
- Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
- Incredible No Mayo Potato Salad
- Avocado & Chickpea Salad
- Incredible Chopped Salad
- Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges
- Perfectly Creamy Polenta Recipe
- Grilled Romaine Lettuce
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate
- Caribbean Black Bean Salad
- Best Popovers Recipe
- Apple Manchego Salad
- Classic Greek Salad
- Peach & Burrata Caprese Salad
- Arugula & Tomato Burrata Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Vinegar
- Classic Vegan Potato Salad
- Best Tossed Salad Recipe
- French Potato Salad
- Nicoise Salad
- Strawberry Summer Salad
- Homemade Croutons Recipe
This recipe is…
This easy bean salad is gluten-free and vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, omit the feta.Print
This easy bean salad recipe is the most delicious, simple salad to hit your plate. It’s a knock-out vegetarian side dish that’s oh so versatile.
For the salad
- 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas cooked in a pressure cooker)
- 15-ounce can cannellini beans
- 15-ounce can red kidney beans
- 4 green onions (scallions)
- 1 large or 2 small stalks celery
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus additional for garnish
- 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, plus additional for garnish
- Black pepper
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons all-natural ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Thinly slice the celery. Thinly slice the green onions (scallions). Finely chop the chives.
- Whisk together the cider vinegar, lemon juice, ketchup, tomato paste, and salt. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil about 1 tablespoon at a time, until emulsified and creamy.
- In a large serving dish, mix together the beans, celery, scallions, chives, dressing, feta crumbles, and fresh ground black pepper. If desired, top with additional feta crumbles and chopped chives as a garnish. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. It tastes even better 1 to 2 days later, so it’s great for making in advance!
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Mixed
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Bean Salad, Three Bean Salad, Side Dish, Healthy Side Dish, Beans, Bean Recipes, Vegetarian, Gluten Free
About the Authors
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.
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.