Once you try three bean salad the Mediterranean way, you will not go back! This three bean salad is so bright and packs tons of flavor from fresh herbs, capers, and a zesty garlic Dijon vinaigrette. It’s the perfect potluck salad. And it makes a great side next to any dinner like easy lemon chicken; beef kabobs; these gyros; shrimp skewers; or baked fish. So many possibilities! Be sure to check out my video and tips below.
I am a big fan of beans. A staple of the Mediterranean pantry, beans are a healthy, versatile and a super affordable ingredient. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, iron…plus, they’re a hearty great alternative to high-fat proteins.
If you’re looking to incorporate more beans in your diet, one good way to do this is three bean salad.
Three bean salad is like the quintessential American picnic or potluck dish, and there are so many great variations of it out there. But, I’ll bet you will fall in love with this bright and fresh Mediterranean twist!
What Kind of Beans Go Into a Three Bean Salad?
If we’re talking about a traditional American 3 bean salad here, you’ll typically see these three
- Canned green beans
- Kidney Beans
- Garbanzo, also known as chickpeas
I’ve not been much a fan of canned green beans; they just feel too mushy for my taste. Instead, I opted for cannellini beans, I like their creamy texture, and I think they work really well here next to the kidney beans and garbanzo.
That said, a good option would be to use steamed green beans. They’ll just lend a far better texture here than canned green beans.
Tip: How to Steam Green Beans. You can steam fresh green beans right in your microwave. Wash and trim the beans, place them in a bowl, then cover with a wet paper towel and microwave for a few minutes (1/2 pound typically takes about 5 minutes or so.)
Mediterranean-Style Three Bean Salad Recipe
This bean salad starts with three humble cans of beans: garbanzo, kidney beans, and cannellini beans. Occasionally, I’ll switch out the cannellini beans for steamed green beans.
In my opinion, to build this 3 bean salad into a huge, “sexy” bowl of goodness–the Mediterranean way, of course–we need crunch and bright flavors.
Colorful bell peppers, cucumbers, and red onions come in, adding that needed crunch. And, for more flavor, tangy capers and fresh herbs–parsley, mint, and basil! I don’t love the syrupy dressings that are typical of three bean salads, so I whipped up a quick garlic Dijon vinaigrette. This bright vinaigrette definitely pulled everything together!
A couple of tips for this 3 bean salad
1- Rinse and drain beans before using. Canned beans release starch into the canning liquid, making it murky. The canning liquid is not necessarily bad for you, but just doesn’t look that great. What i like to do is drain the beans, then rinse well, and drain again before using.
2-Make this 3 bean salad ahead and refrigerate. Beans need a little time to soak up flavor, so it’s a good idea to make this salad ahead and refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours. If you want to make this a day ahead, you can hold the fresh herbs and add them in 30 minutes or so before serving, this will just keep them from wilting too much into the salad (more for looks.)
Leftovers? If you have any leftovers, you can store three bean salad in the fridge in tight lid container for 2 to 3 nights (depending on when you actually made it.)
Watch My Video for How to Make this Mediterranean Three Bean Salad
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Easy three bean salad recipe packed with Mediterranean flavors from fresh herbs, capers, and a zesty Dijon garlic vinaigrette. If you thought beans were boring, you just might change your mind! Be sure to check out the tips and watch my video for how to make this salad.
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1 cup chopped red onions
- 1 1/2 tbsp capers
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 10–15 fresh mint leaves, torn or gently chopped
- 10–15 fresh basil leaves, torn or gently chopped
Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beans, chopped peppers, onions, capers and fresh herbs. Mix using a wooden spoon.
- In a small bowl, add the vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add the vinaigrette to the salad bowl. Toss to coat.
- For best results, cover and refrigerate for a bit before serving so that beans soak up the vinaigrette flavors. Give the salad another quick toss before serving.
- Cook’s Tip: Rinse and drain beans before using. Canned beans release starch into the canning liquid, making it murky. The canning liquid is not necessarily bad for you, but just doesn’t look that great. What i like to do is drain the beans, then rinse well, and drain again before using.
- Cook’s Tip: Make this 3 bean salad a little bit ahead and refrigerate. Beans need a little time to soak up flavor, so it’s a good idea to make this salad ahead and refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours. If you want to make this a day ahead, you can hold the fresh herbs and add them in 30 minutes or so before serving, this will just keep them from wilting too much into the salad (more for looks.)
- Leftover storage: store leftover three bean salad in the fridge in tight-lid containers. It should keep for 2 days (depending on when you actually made it.)
- Meal-Prep: If you want to make this salad to have for lunch over the next few days, hold the dressing and add it as needed a few minutes before enjoying your lunch.
- Recommended for this Recipe Our Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil.
- Visit our store to browse our olive oils, all-natural and organic spice, and more!
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Three Bean Salad, Bean Salad, Mediterranean Salad
*This article first appeared on this site in 2017 and has recently been updated with new information and new media for readers’ benefit