Ridiculously Easy Bean Salad
This classic bean salad is perfect for picnics, barbecues and make ahead meals. To make it, we combine beans (canned or home cooked), onion, crisp cucumber, capers, parsley, and a tangy dressing. Easy and delicious! Jump to the Bean Salad Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
A versatile and easy bean salad
Bean salads are my go to when entertaining (especially during the summer). I also find myself making them for make ahead meals throughout the week. This simple bean salad is versatile and can be made with whatever beans you have in your pantry. Use canned or home cooked (see our recipes for how to cook black beans and how to cook chickpeas).
In our photos, we’ve used chickpeas, pinto beans and black beans. For a more traditional three bean salad, you could swap in kidney beans and canned or blanched green beans for the black beans and pinto beans. Or make it a five bean salad and just add them! As I said, this salad is very versatile. Simply use what you have in your kitchen.
I love keeping the flavors in this salad light and so the dressing only requires a quick whisk of red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of dried herbs. I use dried oregano, but a blend like Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence would work nicely, too.
Our tips for making the best bean salad
- When using canned beans, drain them and rinse under cold water before tossing with the other salad ingredients. The liquid in the can can taste a bit salty and since it has starch from the beans, it can make the salad’s dressing look murky.
- Add fresh herbs to the salad. I love fresh parsley and add a lot. Other herbs will work, too. Try basil, mint, tarragon, dill and cilantro. When adding tarragon, add to taste since it is a bit more pungent than other fine herbs.
- Add some crunch to balance the texture of the beans. We add cucumber, but celery, fennel, jicama and bell peppers are all excellent crunchy veggies to add.
- Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to allow the beans to marinate in the dressing.
- Store the salad in the refrigerator up to 4 days (maybe longer).
More easy bean salads
For more bean salads, take a look at these:
- Herby Chickpea and Cauliflower Salad
- Chickpea Salad with Lemon and Dill
- Green Bean Salad with Crispy Shallots
- Lemony White Bean Salad with Prosciutto
- Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
Ridiculously Easy Bean Salad
The beans you choose to use for this simple bean salad is up to you. Both canned or home cooked beans will work. When using canned, drain and rinse the beans first before adding to the salad.
You Will NeedFor the Salad
3 (15-ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed or use 4 1/2 cups cooked beans
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup (60 grams) finely chopped fresh parsley, see notes
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, see notesFor the Dressing
1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 to 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup, optional
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Add chopped onions to a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes, drain, and then rinse. This step helps to remove some of the “raw” flavor of the onion so that it does not overpower the salad.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and then adjust with more salt/pepper. If the dressing tastes too abrasive, whisk in 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup to balance out the vinegar.
Add the beans, drained onion, cucumber, parsley, capers and dried oregano. Toss well, cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour to allow the beans to marinate in the dressing.
The salad will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Honey/Maple Syrup: Depending on the vinegar you use, you might find the dressing a little too vinegary. To balance this out, simply whisk in a little sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley is classic in this salad, but other fine herbs work nicely, too. Try basil, mint, dill, cilantro or tarragon. When using tarragon, use a bit less than what is called for in the recipe above since it has a stronger flavor.
- Dried herbs: I enjoy dried oregano in this salad, but other herb blends will work nicely. Try an Italian, Mediterranean or French dried spice blend (like Herbes de Provence).
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.