Classic Three Bean Salad (Naturally Vegan and GF!)

This classic three bean salad is all in the name – three beans! Kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans tossed in a refreshingly light dressing. Perfect for potlucks, cookouts, or simply an easy side dish for dinner.

bowl of three bean salad on blue napkin

I’m kicking off Summer with a classic. Something I grew up eating and if you didn’t, well you’re about to!

Let’s just start with the things that I love about three bean salad:

  • Healthy
  • Super EASY to make
  • Cheap ingredients
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Great for cookouts or BBQs
  • Perfect make-ahead recipe
  • Naturally gluten-free and vegan
  • Freakin’ delicious

parsley, celery, shallot, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, red onion, kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans on marble background

Ingredients in three bean salad:

With most classic recipes, there’s no cookie cutter way to make it. Everyone has their own renditions and this way I’m sharing is how my mama taught me.

Beans: For starters, we need three beans: chickpeas, kidney beans, and green beans. Some recipes call for other types of beans like black beans or great northern beans, but stick to three beans people! It’s in the name!

Veggies: Celery, red onion, and shallot are added for a flavorful crunch.

Dressing: The dressing a sweet and tangy vinaigrette made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Then a little bit of salt, pepper, and celery seed are added.

hands whisking dressing in glass bowl

How to make three bean salad:

  1. Drain beans, thaw green beans and combine in a large mixing bowl
  2. Add chopped vegetables
  3. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing
  4. Pour over salad and mix with rubber spatula until well combined
  5. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably 24 hours to let the juices soak in
  6. Serve chilled

hands pouring dressing over mixing bowl full of salad

Ways to customize:

  • Add bell pepper
  • Substitute chickpeas or kidney beans with black beans or northern beans
  • Use black beans and add corn and cilantro
  • Add crumbled feta, although this negates the vegan aspect (but would be super tasty!)

glass bowl full of three bean salad on marble background

How to serve three bean salad:

This salad is best served the next day but consumed within 5 days. Giving the salad 24 hours to marinate makes the dish more flavorful. After 5 days the beans tend to get slightly mushy.

I would not recommend freezing the three bean salad because the chickpeas and kidney beans would be very mushy once thawed.

two bowls of three bean salad on blue napkin on marble background

Pair with BBQ “pulled pork” sandwiches or vegan burgers for a complete plant-based meal. Bring as a side dish to a cookout, or make ahead for a quick and healthy side dish for dinner.

This recipe is also great for lunch for those of you who are over lettuce-based salads. This salad is full of fresh veggies and plant-based protein!

hand holding spoonful of three bean salad over bowl

If you tried this vegan and gluten-free three bean salad, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

Try some other delicious vegan side dishes!
Macaroni Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad
Cobb Salad (with coconut bacon!)

glass bowl full of three bean salad on marble background

Classic Three Bean Salad

Classic Three Bean Salad - Beans, fresh veggies, and dressing make up this vegan and gluten-free salad recipe. SO easy to make and PERFECT as a healthy side dish for cookouts and BBQs.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy side dish for cookout, healthy side dish for dinner, salad without lettuce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 168kcal
Author: Amanda


  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 cup green beans frozen; see notes if using fresh
  • 3/4 cup celery about 2 stalks
  • 3/4 cup red onion about 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 shallot finely chopped


  • 1/3 cup honey can substitute with agave to make vegan
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Drain kidney beans and chickpeas. Combine kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add celery, red onion, shallot, and parsley
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk together
  • Pour dressing into the large mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, mix well
  • Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours; preferably overnight
  • Serve chilled. Leftovers keep in the fridge for 5 days.


If using fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces and blanche:
  • Add to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes
  • Drain and transfer to bowl full of ice water


Serving: 1serving (1/3 cup) | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.5g | Protein: 3.2g | Fat: 8.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 250mg | Fiber: 3.8g | Sugar: 12.4g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.1mg

This recipe was loosely adapted from Simply Recipes

Please note this post may contain affiliate links which do not impact the cost to you but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!


12 thoughts on “Classic Three Bean Salad (Naturally Vegan and GF!)”

  1. 5 stars
    I love Classic Three Bean Salad. This recipe looks delicious. The apple cider vinegar makes it PERFECT! Can’t wait to make this.

  2. 5 stars
    Yum! What a big bowl of goodness. I adore legumes and this reminds me that I don’t eat them nearly enough. Great way to enjoy them.

  3. 5 stars
    Three of my favorite beans! This looks super simple and light and I love the sweet and tangy vinaigrette. Making this one!

  4. 5 stars
    Sooo good! I added about a half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a little more salt. I also made a slight increase to all the dressing ingredients and then added Trader Joe’s multi colored pasta for bulk. It was really amazing. Great recipe for my kids school lunch. Thanks!


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