This refreshing and crunchy 5 Bean Salad is perfect for a barbecue, cookout, or a light dinner. It's delicious!
This recipe was originally published on June 16, 2020. It was updated with new information and recipe tips on April 26, 2021.
Make a healthier -- but still just as delicious -- take on a classic with my 5 Bean Salad Recipe! This 3-step reicpe is gluten-free, vegan, and made with no dairy or processed sugar. It's also brimming with plant-based protein.
Best of all, this bean salad 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.
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 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 (this salad is even better as leftovers) the days after the holiday (hello, Rocky Mountain National Park!).
It's a recipe that makes the most of my summer 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.
To skip straight to the recipe, just click "Jump to Recipe" at the top left of this post. To browse the post quickly, just click the headings in the table of contents below.
Table of contents
- This bean salad is...
- 5 Bean Salad Ingredients:
- Recipe subsitutions:
- How do you make 5 bean salad?
- Recipe pro-tips:
- Where do you buy wax beans?
- Do you need to cook canned beans?
- Is this healthy bean salad budget-friendly?
- Is bean salad vegan or gluten-free?
- How to make 3 bean salad with this recipe:
- Storage directions:
- Tools you need to make this recipe:
- Other delicious barbecue side dish recipes you'll love!
This bean salad is...
All while being naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and full of plant-based protein! This is a healthy budget-friendly side dish that will be welcome at any get-together this summer.
The ingredients in this salad are pretty straightforward: beans, a few veggies, and a red wine vinegar salad dressing to tie it all together!
- Canned beans: kidney, pinto, garbanzo, green, and wax beans (all canned and drained!)
- Red pepper
- Sliced black olives
- Sweet white or red onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Dried dill & thyme
- Canned beans - use 3 cans of whichever types of starchy beans you prefer; this recipe is totally flexible. Some other beans I recommend are black beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, black-eyed peas, and lima beans.
- Maple syrup - using maple syrup adds a nice depth of flavor to the dressing and keeps it vegan. You can substitute honey, however, if you are not vegan.
- Herbs - fresh herbs work in this recipe instead of dry. Just use 3 teaspoons chopped fresh dill and 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme.
- Wax beans - another can of green beans can substitute for the wax beans.
- Vinegar - distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can replace the red wine vinegar if desired.
- Veggies - diced sweet peppers can stand in for the cucumber.
- Oil - avocado oil or walnut oil can sub for the olive oil
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How do you make 5 bean salad?
- Combine all the beans and vegetables in a large mixing or serving bowl.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients until combined.
- Pour the dressing over the beans and vegetables and gently fold or stir together. Serve the salad immediately or let marinate for a few hours up to a day before serving!
- Let the flavors marinate overnight - the flavors in this salad really are the best once the salad dressing has had time to marinate the beans and pickle the veggies. I recommend making this salad 12-24 hours ahead of time if possible. If not, making it 1-2 hours ahead of serving time will also suffice.
- Uniformly dice the fresh veggies - dice the fresh veggies all a similar size. This helps the salad dressing to penetrate them evenly as well as to make the salad easier to eat.
- Serve the salad cold - though this salad is safe to eat after resting at room (or warmer) temperatures, I recommend serving it cold as the flavors are the brightest. This cool salad is also very refreshing on a warm day!
Wax beans can be found at most major grocery store chains here in the United States. Here in Colorado, I can find them at King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway. They are harder to find at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. If you can't find wax beans, you can easily substitute another can of green beans.
This is a cool salad and all of the canned beans come cooked in their tins so there is no need to cook these beans before making this salad. This recipe really is next-level easy!
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!
Yes, this salad is naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and processed sugar-free! 🤯
How to make 3 bean salad with this recipe:
You can easily also make 3 bean salad with this recipe. Whip up the salad dressing as directed and toss in the fresh veggies with 2 cans of green beans, 1 can of wax beans, and 2 cans of kidney beans (all drained) until combined.
- Refrigeration - 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 know you will have leftovers and want your cucumbers crisp, just stir them in before serving!
- Freezing - this easy bean salad does not freeze well, unfortunately. The beans and fresh vegetables change textures and get mushy when frozen.
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
Other delicious barbecue side dish recipes you'll love!
- Broccoli Raisin Salad
- Broccoli Slaw
- Avocado Blueberry Salad
- Italian Tuna Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad
- Greek Penne Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- 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! Serve it at your next barbecue, potluck, or holiday dinner, or get-together!
- 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 ½ cup diced cucumber*
- 1 large sweet red, orange, or yellow pepper, diced
- ¾ cup sliced black olives
- ½ large sweet white or red onion, diced
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey*
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a large mixing or serving bowl combine all the salad ingredients (the canned beans through the diced onion).
- 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.
* Using honey makes this recipe no longer vegan.
1. 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.
2. You can also use fresh herbs in this recipe instead of dry. Just use 3 teaspoons chopped fresh dill and 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme.
3. 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.
4. This salad does not freeze well.
Amount Per Serving Calories 222Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 460mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 7gSugar 9gProtein 9g
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 dietitians 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.