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Three Bean Salad Recipe | Healthy Recipes and Snacks

Posted Sep 26 2008 3:21pm 1 Comment

This Italian version of the classic Three Bean Salad Recipe uses cannellini beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans to make a high-protein, high-fiber and low-fat cold bean salad with an extra healthy twist.

3-Bean Salad is a staple of American potlucks and picnics. A breeze to assemble, portable and easy to make ahead and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week,  it makes a great cold side dish – especially in the warm summer months.

But did you know that Three Bean Salad is also a nutritional powerhouse?

Loaded with heart-healthy soluble fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, and some healthy monounsaturated fats, Three Bean Salad is a fantastic whole-food source of energy and fiber — exactly what you need to fuel your workouts and stay lean and healthy.

Three Bean Salad Recipe Made Healthier

So how do you take the classic 3-Bean Salad recipe and make it even healthier?

Easy: You substitute cannellini beans and garbanzo beans for the usual green and yellow string beans, add in some diced red bell pepper and a bit of minced garlic and then give it a healthy Italian twist with the addition of dried oregeno.  

Replacing the string beans with cannellini and garbanzo beans increases the soluble fiber and protein in the dish, the red bell pepper and red onion provides vitamin C and flavanoids, the garlic offers potential cholesterol-lowering compounds and the addition of oregano (one of the most antioxidant -rich plants on earth) adds a hefty dose of healthy phytochemicals that can protect the body against cellular damage from free radicals.

Gram-for-gram oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.  The use of three colors of beans also increases the antioxidant content of the 3-Bean Salad.

3-Bean Salad Nutritional Info

Let’s take a quick look at the overall nutrition of this recipe. This Three Bean Salad Recipe provides nearly 20 grams of fiber (over half of your daily recommended fiber intake), 15 grams of protein, only seven grams of fat, and over 700 grams of potassium.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, a single serving provides 30% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin B-6, and half of your daily required folate, vitamin C and manganese.

The addition of red bell pepper to this Three Bean Salad recipe also helps sweeten the dish slightly, making it unnecessary to add sugar to the vinaigrette.

This Three Bean Salad recipe can be prepared in less than 10 minutes if you use canned beans — longer if you choose to go the dried bean route (which requires you to cook the dried beans ahead of time — a pressure cooker can expedite this.)

If you want to lower the sodium content of the recipe, consider using low-sodium canned beans from someone like Eden Foods or use dried beans that you have rehydrated and cooked yourself.

Three Bean Salad Recipe

Recipe makes about eight one-cup servings of three bean salad.


1 15 oz can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
1 15 oz can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced

Three Bean Salad Vinaigrette

4 tbs red or white wine vinegar
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Walnut Oil
1 tbs dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the beans, celery, red pepper, and red onion
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and oregano. Add the vinaigrette to the bean mixture and adjust for salt and pepper.
  3. If possible, chill for at least one hour to allow the flavors to mingle.
Three Bean Salad Recipe Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: About 1 cup of bean salad
Servings Per Recipe: About 8

Calories: 341.5
Total Fat:  7.0 g
Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 611.1 mg
Potassium: 768.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 56.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 18.2 g
Sugars: 0.7 g
Protein: 15.5 g

Vitamin A 18.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 30.6 %
Vitamin C 58.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.3 %
Calcium 11.8 %
Copper 23.6 %
Folate 53.9 %
Iron 25.0 %
Magnesium 24.1 %
Manganese 61.5 %
Niacin 5.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.5 %
Phosphorus 28.1 %
Riboflavin 10.3 %
Selenium 8.5 %
Thiamin 20.8 %
Zinc 15.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


Tags: 3 Bean Salad Recipe, 3-Bean Salad, Antioxidants, Bean Salad, Bean Salad Recipe, Beans, Cannellini Beans, celery, Cold Bean Salad, Garbanzo Beans, Garlic, Healthy Recipes & Snacks, High Fiber Food, Kidney Beans, Legumes, Low-Fat Foods, Olive Oil, Oregano, Recipe, Red Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Red Wine Vinegar, Soluble Fiber, Three Bean Salad, Walnut Oil

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Comments (1)
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This is very rich dish, creaminess and yummy...I have a similar recipe like this which I found at gourmetrecipe...they both have same flavor! Creamier!
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