This refreshing and crunchy 5 Bean Salad is healthy and ready in 3 steps! Make it for a barbecue or cookout or even just for a light dinner. It's delicious!
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Make a healthier -- but still just as delicious -- take on a classic with my 5 Bean Salad Recipe! This super easy recipes (seriously-- only 3 steps!) is gluten-free, vegan, and made with no dairy or processed sugar. It's also brimming with plant-based protein. Best of all, it still tastes like the classic summer bean salad recipes that we know and love. Read below for my tips to make a tasty bean salad every time!
Can you believe that the Fourth of July is already just a bit over two weeks away?!
I know I sure can't. I feel like I was just adjusting to never leaving home and then, suddenly, it's 3 months later and I'm still not entirely sure which end is up!
One thing I am trying to do is focus on and invest my time and energy in the more simple and (currently) safe activities we can do to make the most of our time and summer. Golfing, trail running, lounging in the hammock, hiking, reading at the pool, and -- of course -- grilling.
They're back-to-the-basics we can do to enjoy the weather, get out of the house, and focus on what we're grateful for.
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And focusing on being grateful is something I really hope to do this year for the Fourth of July! Mom will be coming out for the week and whereas we usually go out to explore all the food and drink Fort Collins has to offer, this year we'll likely be cooking at home, grilling, and ordering the occasional takeout.
We haven't nailed down our exact Fourth of July menu yet, but I'm pretty sure this 5 Bean Salad will be on it!
With a handful of my favorite beans, crunchy vegetables, and an addicting sweet and sour vinaigrette, it's a healthier rendition of a salad I've enjoyed ever since I was a kid.
The recipe also makes enough to feed the type of moderate crew we'll have together this year while also providing leftovers for our hiking picnic lunches the days after the holiday (Rocky Mountain National Park, here we come!).
It's a recipe that makes the most of my summer and summer activities while throwing me back to more simple, safe, and less confusing times. And I hope it comforts and nourishes you from the inside-out, too.
This bean salad is...
- Full of fiber & plant-based protein
- Perfect for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks
- Great for leftovers
- Ready in just a few simple steps
Grab a few cans of beans the next time you're at the store, chop up a few fresh summer vegetables, and treat your barbecue or cookout crew with a tasty and cooling salad that goes well with almost any grilled food.
5 Bean Salad Ingredients:
The ingredients in this salad are pretty straightforward: beans, a few veggies, and a red wine vinegar salad dressing to tie it all together! Here are all the ingredients. See my notes below on substitutions, as the recipe is pretty flexible!
For the salad:
- Canned kidney beans
- Canned pinto beans
- Canned garbanzo beans
- Canned green beans
- Canned wax beans -
- Red pepper
- Black olives
- Sweet white or red onion
For the dressing:
- Red wine vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Dried dill
- Dried thyme
- Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
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Canned beans -- this recipe really is so flexible. You can use whatever combination of beans you have on hand. You can also use black beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, black eyed peas, and any other type of canned beans you like. You will just want to use three cans so the beans to dressing ratio is still good.
- You can also use dried beans for this recipe, though you will need to cook and cool them before adding them to this recipe. Use 1 1/2 cups beans for every 1 can in the recipe.
Maple syrup -- using maple syrup adds a nice depth of flavor to the dressing and keeps it vegan. You can use honey, however, if you prefer it and don't mind the recipe not being vegan.
Herbs -- you can also use fresh herbs in this recipe instead of dry. To do so, used 3 teaspoons chopped fresh dill and 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme.
Wax beans -- these lighter color green beans can be trickier to find and some people also don't prefer them. If you find yourself in either of these situations, you can just use two cans of green beans instead!
Vinegar -- I like the complexity that the red wine vinegar adds to this salad dressing, but you can also use distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in its place. Whatever you prefer!
Veggies -- cucumber is perfect in this salad because it gives it a nice refreshing crunch. You can also just do 2 diced sweet peppers if you'd rather, though.
Oil -- avocado oil or walnut oil can also be used for this salad's dressing.
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Where do you find wax beans?
Wax beans can be found at most major grocery store chains here in the United States. If you can't find them, you can easily just substitute in another can of green beans.
Do you need to cook the beans for this recipe?
Nope-- you don't need to cook the beans for this recipe, thankfully. For the green beans and wax beans you will just need to drain them. For the pinto, kidney, and garbanzo beans, you will need to drain and rinse them (to wash off the thicker bean juice).
What dressing is best on a bean salad?
This bean salad has one of my favorite salad dressings -- a vinegar sweet and sour dressings (I'm drooling as I type this!). It's made of vinegar, oil, a few seasonings, and a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey.
If you've ever had a sweet and sour cucumber salad, the dressing on this salad is very similar to the dressing on that salad. It brings out the flavors in the fresh vegetables while keeping the salads super light, refreshing, and crunchy!
Is bean salad budget-friendly?
Yes, this bean salad is super budget-friendly! I spent just around $9 US dollars for all the ingredients in this salad which serves 8-10 people, meaning each serving can cost as little as $.90! Pretty sweet to have healthy food that is this affordable, if you ask me. 🙂
Is bean salad vegan or gluten-free?
Yes, this salad is naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and processed sugar-free! 🤯
To keep it vegan (if you care about that), make sure to use maple syrup instead of honey. Otherwise, this recipe is naturally a healthy whole-foods based dish with loads of plant-based protein.
How do you make 5 bean salad?
You can make this recipe in 3 super easy steps:
- Combine all the beans and vegetables in a large mixing or serving bowl.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all the salad dressing ingredients except for the olive oil until combined. Then, while continuing to whisk the dressing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all the olive oil is whisked in.
- Pour the dressing over the beans and vegetables and gently fold or stir together. Serve the salad immediately, or -- for best results -- let it marinate covered in the fridge for at least 1-2.5 hours before serving cold!
Tools you need to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife and paring knife (optional)
- Large serving bowl
- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wet measuring cup
- Silicone spatula or scraper
- Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or beeswax wrap
A note on "marinating" the salad:
The longer you can marinate this salad before serving, the better! The more time the salad dressing has to permeate the beans and vegetables, the more flavorful the salad gets.
If you make the salad the day of serving it, I recommend letting the salad marinate for 1-2.5 hours. The flavors will be even better if you can let them sit over night, so you can also make the salad a day ahead of serving!
Where can you serve this salad?
There are so many great places and occasions to serve this salad:
- Barbecues or cookouts
- Pool parties
- Light summer dinners
- Weekday lunches (this salad meal preps like a dream!)
- After a hard and hot workout
- For your gluten-free and/or vegan friends
What can you serve it with?
This salad goes with almost any grilled meat or fish. I love it with...
- Barbecue pork
- Smoked brisket
- Grilled salmon
- Barbecue chicken
- Grilled sausage
You can also serve it when you don't feel like firing up the grill. It's delicious with...
How long does bean salad last in the fridge?
This bean salad lasts in the fridge for 4-5 days. The cucumbers will start to pickle a bit after a day in the fridge, but they're still delicious. If you want your cucumbers more fresh, just stir them in before serving!
Can you freeze bean salad leftovers?
I don't recommend freezing this bean salad. The beans and fresh vegetables change textures and get mushy when frozen, changing the texture of this salad in not the best way.
Other delicious barbecue and picnic recipes you'll probably enjoy!
- Italian Tuna Pasta Salad
- Mexican Chicken Marinade
- Spicy Honey Chicken Marinade
- Tri-Tip Steak Marinade
- Roasted Tomato & Burrata Salad
- Grilled Corn & Chickpea Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Air Fryer Zucchini
- Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans
- Roasted Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad
Or, check out my complete list of 31 Best Healthy Salad Recipes -- all in one place!
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This 5 Bean Salad is crunchy, refreshing, and has a delightful sweet and sour dressing! It's also made in just three simple steps and is naturally gluten-free and vegan!
Serve it with your next barbecue, potluck, or healthy lunch or dinner.
- 1, 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 oz. can cut green beans, drained
- 1, 15 oz. can cut wax beans, drained
- 1 1/2 cup diced cucumber*
- 1 large sweet red, orange, or yellow pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 large sweet white or red onion, diced
- Salad Dressing:
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey**
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- In a large mixing or serving bowl combine all the salad ingredients (the canned beans through the diced onion) and stir gently until combined.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup or honey, mustard, salt, dill, thyme, garlic, and black pepper until combined. While still whisking, very slowly pour in the olive oil until all the olive oil is whisked in.
- Pour the dressing over the beans and vegetables and gently fold in until all the beans and vegetables are covered in the dressing. For best flavor, chill the salad for at least 1-2.5 hours (and up to 1 day) before serving, or serve immediately if needed.
*Deseed the cucumbers if you prefer, or you can also just use English cucumbers.
** Using honey makes this recipe no-longer vegan.
Use any combination of canned beans. Black beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, lima beans, and even black-eyed peas also work well in this salad.
You can also use fresh herbs in this recipe instead of dry. To do so, used 3 teaspoons chopped fresh dill and 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme.
Leftovers of this recipe last covered in the fridge for 4-5 days. The cucumber will start to pickle after a day or two in the dressing, leaving them not as crunchy but still delicious. If you prefer your cucumbers crunchy, just add them to the salad right before serving.
This salad does not freeze well.
Amount Per Serving Calories 276Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 645mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 7gSugar 8gProtein 11g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.