Three Bean Salad

Three bean salad was one of the first side dishes I made with my kids in the kitchen. I steamed the green beans and they drained and rinsed (and smushed some) of the kidney beans and the garbanzo beans. The dressing was made and whisked with almost only half of it spilling out of the bowl.

The great thing about the dressing is that it is more or less a marinade. The beans need time to soak up the sweet and sour dressing before serving, so this isn’t a dish I would toss together and serve right away, it won’t have the old fashioned three bean salad flavors you’re looking for.

I make this three bean salad with fresh green beans even though canned are easier. It’s the crunch and freshness of the green beans that makes it so popular when served. I just trim and cut them before microwaving them for a few minutes.

My favorite way to steam quickly is just to add the vegetables to a glass bowl and cover with a wet paper towel. The paper towel creates steam inside the bowl and prevents the vegetables from drying out.

What kind of beans go into bean salad?

Three Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney and Green Beans
Four Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Wax and Green Beans
Five Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Lima, Wax and Green Beans
Six Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Black Eyed Peas, Cranberry, Lima, Wax and Green Beans

Yield: 6 servings

Classic Three Bean Salad Recipe

Prep:12 minutes

Cook:3 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes

The Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing made with sugar, vinegar and celery seed is the perfect summer side dish.

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. Add the green beans to a large glass bowl with a tablespoon of water and cover with a wet paper towel.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes then let cool while cutting the onions.
  3. Add everything else but the parsley to the bowl and stir together.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours before serving.

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