Three-bean salad is the perfect easy side dish for a crowd, whether it’s your next potluck, picnic or family gathering. Simply pair crisp green beans, dark red kidney beans and garbanzo beans with freshly sliced red onion and a sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing. Voila! You’ve got a fresh take on classic 3-bean salad.
6 Things to Love About This Three Bean Salad Recipe
There’s a lot to love about a healthy green bean salad that’s quick and easy to toss together.
Here’s why I think you’ll enjoy this modern take on the old fashioned 3-bean salad.
- It takes 20 minutes to make. That’s it!
- It’s fresh and uses healthy, whole food ingredients so it’s a recipe you can feel good about.
- It’s an easy side dish for a large crowd.
- It’s bursting with flavor thanks to the tangy homemade honey mustard dressing.
- This three bean salad recipe a great make-ahead side dish for potlucks, camping and cookouts. In fact, we highly recommend you make it at least 8-12 hours in advance to allow the flavors to come together.
- It’s a delicious and nutritious alternative to store-bought bean salads or canned 3-bean salad.
This three-bean salad calls for a decent list of ingredients that come together quickly (less than 30 minutes!) for a nutrient-dense recipe that tastes like a restaurant-quality side dish.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe, along with substitutes and alternatives you may find helpful.
- Fresh green beans – You could use frozen green beans in a pinch, but we highly recommend you keep the green beans fresh, if possible.
- Dark red kidney beans – Regular kidney beans work just as well.
- Garbanzo beans or chickpeas
- Red onion
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- White wine vinegar – Use red wine vinegar, tarragon vinegar or apple cider vinegar in a pinch.
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh lemon juice
- Raw, unfiltered honey
- Fresh dill – Use dried dill weed in a pinch.
- Freshly cracked pepper
When substituting dried herbs in place of fresh herbs, a good rule of them is the 3-to-1 ratio.
How to Make Three Bean Salad with Tangy Honey Mustard
This three-bean salad recipe is an easy make-ahead side dish with only two key steps.
Step 1. Blanch the green beans.
To blanch green beans, bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil prepare an ice bath in a large bowl by filling the bowl with ice and cold water. Have a strainer on standby.
Add the green beans to the boiling water for two minutes. Strain the green beans, rinse under cold running water and then place them in the ice bath. Let the green beans sit in the ice bath for about 2-3 minutes to halt the cooking process. Strain and pat dry.
Step 2. Combine the ingredients.
In a large bowl, add the green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and diced red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, then pour over the bean salad and gently toss to coat.
Chill for at least one hour; however, we recommend making this side dish well in advance to allow the flavors to come together. If you can make it the night before you plan to serve this recipe, try to do so. You won’t regret it!
The Perfect Make-Ahead Side Dish
Some recipes get better the longer they marinate, and that’s certainly the case with this three-bean salad recipe. The flavor of this dish intensifies with time. You can prepare this dish up to a day in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Toss the beans every now and then to distribute the tangy honey mustard.
In the rare case that you’re left with extra helpings (this is one that goes fast), place the salad in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days. Enjoy leftovers with your favorite soup or a sandwich.
What to Serve with Three Bean Salad
Something I love about this three-bean salad recipe is how versatile it is. You can serve it with an array of dishes. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Serve a side of this 3-bean salad and a spoonful of Homemade Mac and Cheese alongside BBQ chicken.
- Include as a side dish with our One Skillet Chicken and Broccoli-Cheddar Orzo Bake.
- Take it to a potluck, church gathering or family reunion alongside mini Apple Hand Pies.
- 2–3 cups fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 14.5–ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- I 14.5-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon raw, unfiltered honey
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Blanch the green beans – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl by filling the bowl with ice and water. Have your strainer ready. Add the green beans to the boiling water for 2 minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water and add to the ice bath. Let the green beans sit in the ice bath for 2-3 minutes to stop the cooking process. Strain and pat dry.
- In a large bowl, add the blanched green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and diced red onion. In a small bowl, make the tangy honey mustard dressing: whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour over the beans and gently toss to coat. Chill for at least an hour. Serve and enjoy!
- The flavor of this three bean salad intensifies with time. Let it chill for several hours, if possible. You can also make this recipe a day in advance, tossing the beans every now and then in the tangy honey mustard dressing.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- Prep Time: 15 mins.
- Cook Time: 5 mins.
- Category: Sides, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free
- Method: Stovetop, By Hand
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: three bean salad, easy three bean salad, 3 bean salad, classic three bean salad, make ahead side dish, healthy green bean salad
Article originally published January 24, 2023; Last updated August 21, 2023