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This summer bean salad recipe is the most delicious and simple salad to hit your plate. It’s a knock-out summer side dish that’s super versatile.

Easy bean salad
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Maybe it’s because I’m from Minnesota, where I grew up with regular sub-zero temperatures. Or maybe because I live in Indiana, where fall and winter are dismally gray. Whatever the case: I love summer. It’s 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. It’s one of the tastiest bean recipes you’ll find.

Easy bean salad

Why to make this bean salad

Why bean salad? Where I’m from it’s tradition. In Minnesota, the summer potluck is all about the 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 recipes out there? Well, this one is the most delicious, easiest bean salad with a sophisticated flair. It’s based on a bean salad that my mom makes, but we’ve made it even simpler and tastier. Every time we set out to make a simple recipe, the trade-off is flavor. So here, we’ve optimized to get the best flavors with the least amount of time and fuss. Just how to do it…?

Healthy side dish recipes

How to make bean salad…the easy way

We’re all about dumping and stirring on this bean salad. And we’re not about waiting for it to marinade! We’re not even going to cook green beans. Here’s what to do to make this tasty salad:

  • Drain and rinse 3 cans of beans. That’s right! Garbanzo, cannellini, and kidney beans. Throw them in a bowl.
  • Slice celery and scallions (and chives, if you’ve got ’em). You’ll use them raw. Throw them into the bowl, too!
  • Make the salad dressing. The secret to the flavor is the salad dressing! It’s made with a bit of tomato paste and ketchup, along with cider vinegar and lemon juice. It has an unexpected earthy undertone. Now throw that in the bowl!
  • Lastly, add feta! 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.

That’s it! Taste and enjoy the beauty that is easy bean salad.

Pro tip: buy tomato paste in a tube

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!

Summer salads

Serving this bean salad…it works anytime!

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!

This easy bean salad recipe is…

Gluten-free and vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, omit the feta.

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Seriously Simple Three Bean Salad | A Couple Cooks

Summer Bean Salad

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  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 as a side 1x


This easy bean salad recipe is the most delicious and simple salad to hit your plate. It’s a knock-out summer side dish that’s super versatile.



For the salad

  • 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (or 1 ½ 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
  • ¾ 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


  1. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. Thinly slice the celery. Thinly slice the green onions (scallions). Finely chop the chives.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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 and salad recipes:

Last updated: March 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Mary says:

    Great bean salad recipe will make it again

  2. Stephanie says:

    This sounds like a great summer recipe for our neighborhood get together. I’m not a huge fan of kidney beans and wondering if black beans could be subbed? I might have to give it a try. :)

    1. Alex says:

      Yes, black beans would be delish!

  3. Katie says:

    This salad was SO good! The dressing is the dressing I have been searching for my entire cooking life. I’m going to use it again not only on this bean salad but on other veggie/pasta salads this summer. Yum! Thank you.

  4. Katie | Whole Nourishment says:

    I couldn’t wait for you to post this recipe! Would have never thought to add ketchup to the dressing. It feels like the perfect summer side. I’m a summer girl at heart too, and I can’t wait for it to come in full swing!

  5. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says:

    I feel you on the Indiana winters!! ;) I can’t wait to make this recipe for easy lunches…it looks like it should keep pretty well for meal prep!

    1. Sonja says:

      YES, it actually does save really well too! It tastes even better the next day! I’ll add that to the recipe :)

  6. Brooke Sauer says:

    This looks so fresh! I have this on deck for Wednesday night dinner! Will let you know how it is!

    1. Sonja says:

      Ooo yay! Yes please keep us posted!!!