This easy Three Bean Salad recipe features a sweet & tangy vinegar dressing that's oil-free and made with no refined sugar. It's a healthier take on an old classic! So fresh and flavorful. (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, naturally sweetened.)
Let's make an old-fashioned bean salad that's lighter and healthier, but still flavorful and delicious!
Classic three bean salad is usually made with a large amount of oil and refined sugar.
But this healthier remake combines three types of beans and fresh herbs. Then it's marinated in a sweet and sour dressing made with no refined sugar and no oil.
The result is tangy, vibrant, and will keep you coming back for more! Plus it's full of plant-based protein and fiber.
Ingredients for Three Bean Salad
For the salad portion you will toss together in a large bowl:
- Red kidney beans
- Garbanzo beans: You'll need one can for this recipe. However if you cook your own chickpeas from scratch, you'll need about 1.5 cups cooked beans.
- Fresh green beans: Typically this salad is made with canned green beans, however I like the taste of fresh beans much better! (I haven't tested it with frozen green beans.)
- Red onion: Raw onion is strong, but the flavor really mellows out as it marinates in the dressing.
- Fresh parsley: Or you can substitute fresh cilantro.
- Fresh dill: The herbs add so much flavor and freshness to this dish, so you can use even more if you'd prefer.
Customize it! Swap in other beans such as yellow wax beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, cannellini beans, etc.
Ingredients for Dressing
For the sweet and tangy oil-free dressing you will whisk together in a small bowl:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard: This adds a really nice tangy, sharp flavor to the dressing.
- Pure maple syrup: Or you can use another sweetener of choice.
- Garlic cloves: I really enjoy the taste of fresh garlic best in the dressing, but you could substitute garlic powder if needed.
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Note: The dressing runs thinner than the traditional versions because there's no olive oil that solidifies and thickens in the fridge. But the flavors are absolutely delightful!
This is a great side dish to toss together for picnics, potlucks, take along lunches, meal prep, or general enjoyment at home.
Making ahead? Prepare it 4 to 24 hours in advance so it can marinate in the fridge. (But it's also great served immediately if desired.)
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. I find it keeps well in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Give it a good stir before serving as the dressing tends to settle at the bottom.
For more inspiration, also browse all bean & legume recipes or dill recipes.
Three Bean Salad with Vinegar Dressing
- 8 oz. fresh green beans (about 2 cups cut)
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 15 oz. can kidney beans
- 1/3 cup red onion
- 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or cilantro)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh dill
For the vinegar dressing:
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or up to 1/3 cup)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. salt (more/less to taste)
- Prepare green beans: Trim and cut green beans into about 1-inch pieces. Cook green beans for 3-5 minutes until crisp-tender.* Then rinse with cold water. Drain and pat dry.
- Add green beans to a large bowl. Add garbanzo beans and kidney beans (rinsed and drained). Finely dice red onion, and roughly chop herbs. Add to bowl.
- Make the dressing: combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.
- Pour dressing over salad and stir well to combine. Adjust flavors as desired. (More salt, herbs, sweetness, vinegar, etc.)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this healthy (oil-free) three bean salad recipe with vinegar dressing and no refined sugar, also check out:
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I never liked 3 bean salad because, I think, of the canned green beans. But they help keep the calorie count lower. So I'll try the fresh green beans and hope that it makes the difference. To help reduce the calorie count I'm going to try replacing some (or all) the maple syrup with stevia (no calorie sweetener). Thanks for a no-oil version.
Fresh green beans make all the difference for me! Hope you enjoy it, Patti!
This is amazing! My husband & I loved it! So much great flavor and we didn’t miss the oil at all. It’s definitely going in our regular rotation—thank you!
Yay! So great to hear you both enjoyed it, Andrea. Thanks for coming back to leave such a sweet comment. Hope you continue to enjoy it in your regular rotation!
This is lovely, tasty salad. I made it for dinner tonight with green beans fresh from the garden and couldn't resist a small bowl immediately! Thanks for the recipe.
Hello, Darlene! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed the salad (and with your fresh garden green beans - fantastic!) Thank you so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing your very kind feedback. Hope you're having a lovely summer!
I'm very happy with how this turned out, it's definitely a keeper!
Awesome! Thanks for giving it a try and sharing.
This was so delicious and we enjoyed the leftovers too. Thanks for the healthier, no oil recipe!!
Great to hear! Thank you for giving it a try and sharing.