Mixed Bean Salad is incredibly tasty and you only need 20 minutes to make it! This easy bean salad is perfect for potlucks, parties, and those times when you need a quick and simple last-minute healthy side dish recipe. Full of fiber and flavor, you just can’t go wrong with this Multi-bean Salad recipe.
The Best Mixed Bean Salad
This is a hearty and filling salad recipe, suitable as a main dish, or a picnic or potluck salad recipe. Bean Salad is a great way to use up a bunch of the cans of beans and other pantry staple ingredients you may have in your pantry all while making a delicious cold bean salad.
This Mixed Bean Salad recipe is very easy and delicious. You don’t need to spend much time in the kitchen making it and it’s very customizable so you can make it to suit your taste buds.
It’s a delicious recipe as is, or you can build off on to it to make a different variation.
I like making these salads, both hot and cold ones, that you can take to gatherings and everyone will like them. A couple of my favorites, other than this bean salad, are this Easy Rice Salad and Tortellini Pasta Salad.
This bean salad has a slightly sweet yet slightly acidic dressing that it is tossed in. It compliments the various bean flavors very well and makes each bite slightly unique from the next one.
Since this recipe uses mostly pantry staple ingredients and some fresh produce, it’s a very economical meal. With all the fiber from the beans, it’s filling and is something the whole family will like, making it a cheap weeknight side dish recipe that can’t be beat.
Is This the Same as Three Bean Salad?
This homemade bean salad recipe is very similar to a traditional three bean salad, but has more beans in it!
I usually use wax beans, red kidney beans, and green beans for a Three Bean Salad.
This recipe uses five types of beans:
• Red Kidney Beans
• Green Beans
• Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
• Butter Beans
• Yellow Wax Beans
I'm not even sure what the original 3 beans were! There are so many variations of this wonderful salad out there, and they are all similar and customizable. So use the type of beans that you want!
Here are some other beans you might like to use:
Fava beans, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, fresh green beans (or canned).
Can I Use Canned Beans?
Yes, I highly suggest that you do use canned beans. They are convenient as most of us have a can of beans in the cupboard, and they taste great! It's nice to have extra cans of beans in the pantry so you can make this tasty bean salad any time!
Can You Eat Beans Straight From the Can?
Canned beans are pre-cooked beans so, yes, it is safe to eat them straight from the can. I suggest draining and rinsing them first though. If you’re using dried beans, they’ll need to be cooked first (I know that's obvious, but just in case!).
Should You Rinse the Canned Beans?
Yes, even though these beans are already cooked, they should be drained and rinsed first. I like to rinse them in cold water. Rinsing them helps get the bean liquid off, reducing any unpleasant canned flavor, and helps get some of the excess sodium off the beans, making this salad a little healthier.
What is in Bean Salad?
- Besides the canned beans mentioned above, this easy salad recipe has red onion, olive oil, white wine vinegar (or lemon juice), sugar, and red bell pepper (or yellow or orange pepper).
- You can customize this salad infinitely! Some great options to add other flavors are: using fresh dill, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, fresh basil leaves, or other fresh herbs, feta cheese, frozen corn, pressed garlic cloves, fresh lime juice, dijon mustard, jalapeño pepper, green onions and other fresh veggies.
How to Make Mixed Bean Salad
• Drain and rinse the beans.
• Dice the red bell pepper and the red onion.
• Add the beans into an oversized bowl and set aside.
• Combine the red pepper and onion with the beans. Set aside.
• In a small or medium saucepan, stir in sugar, vinegar, and oil and bring to a boil for 1 minute over medium heat or medium-high heat.
• Remove from heat and add the optional Italian seasoning and stir. Let cool.
• Once the dressing has cooled, pour it over the beans and red pepper/onion; toss to coat.
• Chill until ready to serve.
Mixed Bean Salad Tips and Variations
- I used canned beans for this recipe simply because they’re faster. If you’re looking to make this even more of a frugal meal, you can use the dried beans, follow the directions according to the package to cook them first before assembling this salad.
Pro Tip: Using a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot® to cook dried beans speeds up the cooking process!
- You can swap out any of the beans for a your choice of beans, or just use more of another bean we already used. Whatever you prefer.
- You can swap the red pepper out for a yellow or orange pepper or add one or both bell peppers in this recipe for another pop of color. But I suggest staying away from the green bell peppers since we are going for the sweet peppers for this easy and quick beans salad recipe.
Can You Make Bean Salad Ahead of Time?
- Yes, you can make this dish ahead of time. In fact, I recommend doing so if you can. This is one of those recipes that the longer it chills in the refrigerator, the more time all of the flavors have to meld together and create a fantastic side dish.
- At a minimum, this salad should chill for 15 minutes. If possible, I like to let it chill for a few hours, up to overnight when possible. By the time I pull it out to serve it, it’s super flavorful. Just give it a nice toss before serving so everything gets coated in the dressing again, as it can sometimes sink to the bottom of the bowl or dish.
What to Serve With Mixed Bean Salad
This dish is a great side dish and would go well with so many main dish recipes. It could be its own main dish if needed too. But, if you’re looking to pair it with a few good main course recipes, here are my top suggestions:
Maple Glazed Pork Chops
Ham and Cheese Sliders
Slow Cooker Beef Ribs
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
Chicken Thighs and Rice
How to Store Leftover Bean Salad
Store any leftovers of this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Delicious Side Dish Recipes
Are you ready to raid the cabinets and your pantry to gather all of your simple ingredients and whip up a bowl of this hearty, filling, Mixed Bean Salad? I hope you enjoy this great recipe!
If you make this easy Bean Salad recipe please let me know. You can leave a comment with a star rating below. I'd like to know how you liked it!
Mixed Bean Salad
- Large Bowl
- Small Saucepan
- 1 (14-oz) can Red Kidney Beans drained & rinsed
- 1 (12 to 14-oz) can Green Beans drained
- 1 (14-oz) can Chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1 (14-oz) can Butter Beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 (12 to 14-oz) can Yellow Wax Beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
- 1 medium Red Onion, diced
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ¾ cup White Vinegar
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (optional)
- Fresh Basil Leaves (optional garnish)
- Drain and rinse the beans. Put them into an oversized bowl and set aside.
- Dice the red pepper and onion. Combine the red pepper and onion with the beans. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, stir in sugar, vinegar, and oil, and salt, if using. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in Italian seasoning, if using, and let cool.
- Once the dressing has cooled, pour it over the beans and red pepper/onion; toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
- This dressing has a very mildly sweet and very little acidic taste to it and compliments the beans very well. I used the canned beans because it’s a very quickly put-together dish.
- If you prefer fresh vegetables, you may use fresh beans and prepare them according to their instructions.