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Picnic 3-Bean Salad

With labor day coming up and summer coming to a close, you may be invited to a few end-of-summer barbecue parties. To avoid going empty-handed, you’ll need a dish that can hang out at room temperature for a few hours on the buffet table. This gluten-free Picnic 3-Bean Salad is the answer!

3-Bean Salad; a Forgotten Classic

Buffet tables in the ’70s and ’80s saw a ton of 3-bean salad recipes. It was a simple way to make a “salad” using canned ingredients. All you needed to do was pop open some beans and toss them with some bottled dressing. Simple!

Today, a more healthful approach really makes this nutritious salad a hit. There is tons of fiber and protein content inside of beans, so they are filling and help your digestive tract. Plus, in addition to being gluten-free, this 3-bean salad is also vegan! 

One of the best features of a classic 3-bean salad is that it can stay at room temperature for a while. There are no creamy elements to this dish (mayo, sour cream, etc.) so it will not spoil quickly. It is the perfect salad for an outdoor party or a picnic!

3-Bean Salad Dressing

There are 100s of dressing recipes for a traditional 3-bean salad. You can go creamy, herby, garlicky, sweet, or spicy with your flavor choices. For lastability, leave out the creamy ingredients unless you have a portable cooler handy.

For this Picnic 3-Bean Salad, a sweet and tangy dressing is the way to go. It only requires a few ingredients yet the flavor profile is complex. Of course, you can add or omit any ingredient that does not suit your taste buds.

For this dressing, I use:

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne
  • Freshly chopped basil

It’s nice to have sweet, tart, fresh, and spicy elements to your dressing. These flavors combine to make an interesting, flavorful, complex dressing that works beautifully with the texture of each bean.

What Beans to Use?

Commonly, the three beans in a 3-bean salad are as follows:

Obviously, if you like other beans, please feel free to make a swap. As is, this combination of beans works well because of the varied textures and colors. Red kidney beans, yellow chickpeas, and green beans make for a beautiful presentation.

You can also add additional ingredients to your salad for texture and color. Roasted sunflower seeds, pepitas, or dried fruit are all interesting additions to add even more flavor and texture.

Ingredients in Picnic 3-Bean Salad

For the Salad:

1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz. can chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 stalks celery, sliced

¼ cup green olives with pimentos

For the Dressing:

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of cayenne

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

How to Make Picnic 3-Bean Salad

Drain the kidney beans and chickpeas and rinse. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the trimmed green beans to the boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes until very bright green. 

Using a spider or slotted spoon, drain the green beans and shock them in ice water to retain the green color. Drain and set aside.

Add the green beans to a bowl with the kidney beans and chickpeas.

Also, add the celery and olives.

Next, make the dressing. Combine all ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

Pour the dressing over the beans and stir. Place in the fridge and allow to sit for 2-4 hours before serving so that the flavors blend.

Serve chilled.

Picnic 3-Bean Salad

Picnic 3-Bean Salad

Tracy Nawara
This vegan and gluten-free salad is the perfect dish to take to your next BBQ! Kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans are tossed in a sweet and tart dressing that will become your new favorite side dish!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks fresh celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup green olives wth pimentos

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Drain the kidney beans and chickpeas and rinse. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the trimmed green beans to the boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes until very bright green.
  • Using a spider or slotted spoon, drain the green beans and shock them in ice water to retain the green color. Drain and set aside.
  • Add the green beans to a bowl with the kidney beans and chickpeas. Also, add the celery and olives.
  • Next, make the dressing. Combine all ingredients and whisk.
  • Pour the dressing over the beans and stir. Place in the fridge and allow to sit for 2-4 hours before serving so that the flavors blend.
  • Serve chilled.

Notes

We love this serving dish. (And so will your guests)
Keyword 3 bean salad, Gluten-free, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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