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Three Bean Salad Recipe

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posted: 03/10/20

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Three Bean Salad is ultimate classic potluck food! With it’s simple ingredients and great flavor, this easy side dish recipe is perfect to bring to a party or just for a weeknight dinner.

overhead of white bowl with three bean salad and a spoon in it on a gray surface garnished with parsley and on a cloth napkin

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I love to cook.

And that love of cooking was one of the best family treasures that was passed down to me. It was passed down in many different ways, but one of my favorites was when I graduated from college. My great aunt came to my house and gave me two things: a hand mixer and a church cookbook.

The hand mixer broke years ago (cough, just a couple years since I graduated college . . . ) but the church cookbook is still going strong. My aunt knew I would treasure it since she and my grandmother had contributed many recipes to the book.

It has some additional treasures, like this delicious simple Three Bean Salad recipe.

Ingredients

I love how very little you need to make this recipe. Or maybe how very little you need to measure for this recipe. (As always, please see the printable recipe card at the bottom so you don’t miss anything.)

ingredients for three bean salad in a glass bowl separated by ingredient

Salad Ingredients

  • 15 ounces Kidney Beans
  • 15 ounces Green Beans
  • 15 ounces Wax Beans (could these have been named worse?)
  • 1 small Red Onion diced fine
close up of a mason jar holding three bean salad dressing with the bowl of the salad in the background

For the Dressing

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
side photo of pouring salad dressing over three bean salad in a glass bowl

How to Make Classic Three Bean Salad

As I’m sure you have guessed, this is just a matter of mixing things together. But! Aside from rinsing your beans and mixing your dressing well, there is one major key to this recipe.

Allow Salad to Sit Out for Four Hours Minimum

Allowing the salad to sit overnight lets the dressing really sink into the beans. It also softens the red onion. Those are two things that take this salad over the top.

When you take out your salad just before serving, let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then give it a good stir and set it out.

overhead of a glass bowl holding ingredients for old fashioned three bean salad that has just been mixed together

Note the Lack of Mayonnaise

Did you guys notice there is no mayonnaise or sour cream or yogurt in this great picnic recipe?! That’s right friends! That makes this recipe perfect for bringing to a backyard BBQ.

Storing

This recipe will last in your refrigerator for up to four days. Make sure you store it in an airtight container.

I would not recommend freezing this three bean salad. While you can do it, I think you will be happier if you make it fresh.

A close up photo of the bean salad being mixed together with a spoon digging into the salad

Other Great Side Dishes

If you are looking for even more great recipes to bring to a picnic, check out some of these:

If you love this three bean salad recipe or any of my other recipes, please be sure to come back and let me know!

overhead photo of a white bowl with three bean salad recipe on a gray surface with a cloth napkin and an antique spoon
overhead of white bowl with three bean salad and a spoon in it on a gray surface garnished with parsley and on a cloth napkin
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Three Bean Salad Recipe

Serves: 10 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 4 hours 10 minutes
Three Bean Salad is ultimate classic potluck food! With it's simple ingredients and great flavor, this easy side dish recipe is perfect to bring to a party or just for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces green beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces wax beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 small red onion sliced thin

FOR DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, vinegars, salt, and pepper until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Combine the beans in a medium bowl with the red onion. Pour the dressing over it and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Calories: 114kcal (6%) Carbohydrates: 14g (5%) Protein: 2g (4%) Fat: 6g (9%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Sodium: 204mg (9%) Potassium: 190mg (5%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 8g (9%) Vitamin A: 15IU Vitamin C: 9mg (11%) Calcium: 21mg (2%) Iron: 3mg (17%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
overhead of white bowl with three bean salad and a spoon in it on a gray surface garnished with parsley and on a cloth napkin

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Three Bean Salad Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. EDUARDO R TRUJILLO says

    Great salad, you could make it for any occasion. I added cilantro to the salad, I mixed it with just olive oil and red wine vinegar, it came out delicious!!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

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