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.

Watch us make the recipe

More bean salads: Try our Kale and Bean Salad with Tahini Dressing or this Black Bean and Quinoa Salad.

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.

Ingredients for bean salad (beans, onion, cucumbers and parsley)

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.

Serving the Bean Salad

Our tips for making the best bean salad

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to allow the beans to marinate in the dressing.
  5. Store the salad in the refrigerator up to 4 days (maybe longer).
Salad with beans, cucumbers, onion, and parsley

More easy bean salads

For more bean salads, take a look at these:

Bean Salad with Cucumbers, Parsley, and Onion

Ridiculously Easy Bean Salad

  • PREP

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.

Makes about 6 cups

You Will Need

For the Salad

3 (15-ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed or use 4 ½ 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 notes

For 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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size about 1/2 cup / Calories 135 / Total Fat 6.3g / Saturated Fat 0.8g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 343.5mg / Carbohydrate 16g / Dietary Fiber 4.3g / Total Sugars 3.2g / Protein 4.7g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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23 comments… Leave a Comment
  • ninamarie May 31, 2021, 8:07 am

    Very good. Fast, easy, delicious. I forgot the capers (I always seem to forget something) but it was still good. I will definitely make this again.

  • Tara May 23, 2021, 12:08 pm

    Easy and soo delicious so happy I came across your recipe, thank you

  • Breanne St. Goddard May 15, 2021, 1:45 pm

    Can I use white wine vinegar instead of red?

    • Joanne May 29, 2021, 2:22 pm

      Yes, absolutely.

  • Kaline May 14, 2021, 7:26 pm

    Bean salad- sooo good! Ive always made my own, just kinda, by ear. Soaking the onions and rinsing the beans was a super suggestion! And i used to throw 100 random things in; sometimes, simpler is better!

  • Laura Briant April 25, 2021, 3:16 pm

    This salad is delicious and very easy to make! I used chickpeas and kidney beans. I added finely chopped carrot and topped with a little feta right before eating! The dressing is the perfect blend of vinegar, mustard and honey. Don’t exclude the capers, they are a nice surprise with each bite.

  • Theresa Mortimer March 30, 2021, 3:59 pm

    I love all these recipes,so quick and easy to understand and delicious thanks guys

  • Birdie March 6, 2021, 6:43 pm

    Suggestions on a substitute for the cucumber. Not a fan.

    • Joanne May 29, 2021, 2:23 pm

      You can leave it out or swap for other crunchy veggies like bell pepper or jicama.

      • Hope S. May 29, 2021, 7:12 pm

        I like chopped water chestnuts, because I can keep them in the pantry.

  • Angela January 24, 2021, 4:36 pm

    Just found your site tonight looking for a bean salad. This was really simple to make and so delicious – looking forward to my lunch tomorrow!

  • Martin Binns January 20, 2021, 4:32 am

    Really enjoyed the easy bean salad. We shall be following you closely from now on having just discovered your page.

  • Rae Dhesi October 24, 2020, 2:50 pm

    These blueberry muffins are so easy to make and taste delicious. I double the recipe because my friends and family don’t get enough of them. Sometimes I replace the blueberries with golden raisins. Yum yum! I make them at least once a week. I gave 6 to a friend and he said they were all gone within a minute.

  • Beth October 9, 2020, 7:53 pm

    Thank you for such a versatile recipe! I made the following modifications because of what I had on hand and it is definitely a “do often” per my family. Used one can of black eyed peas, one of great northerns, and one of corn. Added some bell peppers from our garden. Didn’t have any capers but will get some for next time. And added some Tabasco to the dressing because my family likes a little heat. This was delicious recipe and appreciate your substitution suggestion as well as the tip to soak the onions in cold water.

  • Mona Irmen October 9, 2020, 7:42 pm

    This is do easy to make and tastes so good. Everyone I gave it to loves it.

  • Diane September 12, 2020, 6:05 pm

    Wow! This is excellent! I’ve made bean salads before, but the dressing makes this one. (I added a little dill weed to the dressing). Can’t stop eating it!!

  • Jessica Prescott September 7, 2020, 7:42 pm

    This was really delicious. I left out the capers since we didn’t have any but used kidney, chickpea, and white cannellini beans. My husband really enjoyed it and we both had seconds. Excellent blend of flavors.

  • Karen August 23, 2020, 4:36 pm

    This was so good! I didn’t have a cucumber so I cut up 2 kohlrabi bulbs for the crunch. I used black, garbanzo and Jacobs cattle beans. My 4 year old also ate some which is always a plus!


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