Three Bean Salad is a tangy and sweet bean salad that can accompany grilled or roasted meats and makes a perfect addition to a vegetarian menu.

bowl of Three Bean Salad

Thanksgiving menus abound with starchy, cheesy, fat-laden dishes. That’s what makes Thanksgiving so wonderful! You get to eat all the potatoes, cheese, bread, and butter that you want and calories don’t count. Right? It’s just one of the lies I tell myself.

But here’s something to make you feel better. Three bean salad is all about beans…which means fiber, which is healthy and good for you.

I love this recipe because it combines so many flavors into one simple dish that’s great any time of year. This is a perfect side dish for a potluck picnic in the summer because there’s no mayonnaise, or any roasted meat dish in the winter.

It’s so easy—just mix a little red wine vinegar with sugar, oil, salt, and pepper, and pour over beans, green pepper, and onion. Then let it marinate overnight or even just a few hours and it’s good to go.

How to Make Three Bean Salad

Start by chopping a green pepper and a small red onion, or enough onion for about 1/2 cup.

Add the chopped vegetables to drained and rinsed beans: French green beans, wax beans, and red kidney beans.

ingredients for Three Bean Salad

Mix red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar with sugar, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper to make a dressing for the salad.

Pro tip: You want to use vegetable oil and not olive oil in this recipe because you don’t want a strong flavor from the oil. I use canola.

dressing for Three Bean Salad

Pour the dressing over the beans and allow to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Pro tip: I like to make enough dressing to cover the beans, and then I drain most of it off before I serve the salad.

mixing dressing into beans for Three Bean Salad

Allow the salad to come to room temperature before serving, and drain most of the dressing.

Be sure you save some dressing in case you have leftovers. So easy and so versatile. Try this with dinner tonight!

Three Bean Salad

Join Southern Food and Fun Community group
and Southern Potluck group!

And please follow us on social media:

Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox!
5 from 4 votes

Three Bean Salad

Always part of our Thanksgiving menu, this tangy and sweet bean salad can also accompany grilled or roasted meats or makes a perfect addition to a vegetarian menu.
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings



  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can wax beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can French green beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped


  • cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper



  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and pour dressing over. Mix gently.
  • Allow to sit several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and drain slightly before serving.


  • Whisk vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil, salt, and pepper until well mixed.


Serving: 8servings, Calories: 193kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 1g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Sodium: 296mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Calories: 193
Keyword: three bean salad
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!
Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

Follow Lucy on social media:

You May Also Like:

Sign up with your email address to receive a 5-day series of Southern Cooking Secrets, followed by weekly emails with recipes and tips. We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

1 Comment