3 Bean Salad

$3.96 recipe / $0.66 serving

Because when you’re craving beans, you just gotta have beans.

Oh, wait, am I the only one that craves beans? Well, I was craving them the other day, so here we are.

This simple salad is actually a great trick to have tucked up your sleeve. It’s really fast to whip up and goes great with so many different types of main dishes (roasted meats, burgers, a big ol’ sandwiches, whatev.). The flavor is light and fresh, yet the beans are totally filling. You can customize with your favorite beans, but I like this trio for their variety of color, shapes, and flavor.

I usually prefer frozen to canned vegetables, so I used frozen purple hull peas. The thing with frozen peas and beans is that they need to be cooked. Even though they’re not hard like dried beans, you still need to boil them before eating them. I was doing some other cooking that day, so it didn’t bother me to have them simmering in the background for 45 minutes and then I just threw the salad together at the end. If you don’t want to wait for your peas/beans to boil, you can sub a 15 oz. can of black eyed peas, field peas, or purple hull peas. The canned version are already cooked and can just be rinsed, drained, and added to the salad.

I also used frozen green beans, which are really more of a vegetable than a bean, so they don’t need to be cooked first. They’re quickly blanched before freezing, so I just let them thaw and used them as is. If you prefer a more cooked green bean, you can boil them for a few brief minutes to soften them up some, but they don’t need the 45 minutes that the hull peas require. Or, you can use canned green beans.

So here it is. Tuck this recipe into your “regular rotation” folder, because it’s easy, inexpensive, and versatile!

3 Bean Salad

3 Bean Salad

4.8 from 5 reviews
3 Bean Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.96
Cost Per Serving: $0.66
Serves: 6 (2/3 cup ea.)
  • ½ lb. frozen cut green beans $0.75*
  • ½ lb. frozen purple hull or field peas $0.84*
  • 1 (15 oz. can) kidney beans $1.09
  • ½ small Vidalia onion $0.42
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley $0.20
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil $0.48
  • 1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.06
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • ¾ tsp salt $0.05
  • freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  1. Bring a 2 quart sauce pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the frozen peas. Allow the pot to return to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the peas to simmer for 45 minutes. Either allow the frozen green beans to thaw during this time, or for a softer green bean, add the green beans to the boiling water with the peas for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the peas in a colander and allow them to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and roughly chop the parsley. Add both to a large bowl. Briefly rinse the kidney beans under cool water, allow the excess water to drain away, and then add them to the bowl with the onion and parsley.
  3. To make the dressing, stir together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Once the peas have been boiled and cooled, add the peas and green beans to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the dressing over top, and stir until everything is well combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
*One 15 oz. can each of green beans and field peas can be substituted for frozen to make the recipe much faster.


3 Bean Salad

Step by Step Photos

BeansThese are the beans that I used. I like frozen better than canned because they have a lighter, fresher flavor. They do require some cooking, whereas canned version are all ready to go. These are one pound bags of beans, so I used half and packed the rest into freezer bags to save for later.

Boil PeasCheck the cooking instructions on the package for your frozen peas. Mine said to bring a pot of water to a boil, add the peas, allow it to come back to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. So, that’s what I did! If you want your green beans a little cooked, you can add them to the water with the peas for the last few minutes of cooking. I just let mine thaw and then used them as-is. 

Drain PeasDrain the peas in a colander and let them cool a bit.

Salad IngredientsWhile the peas are cooling, dice the onion into very small pieces and roughly chop the parsley. Drain the can of kidney beans and rinse them with cool water. Combine the onion, parsley, thawed green beans, kidney beans, and cooked peas in a large bowl.

DressingTo make the ultra bare-bones dressing, just combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper. Stir it up a bit – it won’t really suspend, but just stir a little anyway.

Add DressingPour on the dressing…

Finished SaladThen stir until everything is combined and coated in dressing. Perfect, light, and refreshing. 

If you want more of a flavor punch, you can use an Italian dressing in place of the homemade, but I like the light, simple dressing that I used. It kept the salad light and let the flavor of the beans and the sweet onion really shine through! I also chose to use just a little bit of garlic powder instead of a fresh clove because I just wanted a hint of garlic flavor, rather than a tongue burning fresh garlic effect :)

3 Bean Salad

Beans… they’re what’s for dinner (at my house).



  1. Alyssa says:

    This is a great summer dish and I enjoyed it over some cooled jasmine white rice.

  2. Adrienne says:

    I love that you used frozen green beans! What a revelation. I always hated the sad, soft, not-so-green beans in three bean salads (even though I still love them) but now I’m excited to make this your way. Another benefit of frozen is less sodium!

  3. I’m eating this RIGHT NOW and it’s fantastic! I couldn’t find purple hull peas so I used black eyed peas. I added 2 stalks of celery (I look for any excuse to add celery to something!) and I added some feta. SO GOOD.

  4. I made this today, it was delicious. I made a few tweaks, since I didn’t have all the ingredients and there were some veggies I wanted to use up. I used two cans of mixed beans, added some cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced cucumber, used white wine vinegar since that was all I had, then added some lemon juice and crumbled a little bit of feta into it. Everything else I did the same as the recipe. So good and fresh tasting. I’ll definitely be adding it into the regular rotation!

  5. William says:

    Does this smell much in the fridge? I’m planning to make this, say sunday evening, and make lunch boxes for a couple of weekdays. Is there a way to keep it fresh, free from smelling and tasty?

    • I threw the last of mine away today and stuck my nose in there to see, just for you! Hahah… Surprisingly, it didn’t smell at all. It might be the vinegar keeping the bean fermentation at bay. Usually stuff like that stinks so bad that it fills my entire fridge, but this one didn’t!

  6. Anna says:

    Is purple hull peas another name for black-eyed peas? They look the same in the photo.

  7. Paula says:

    I have never heard of field peas or purple hull peas. I wonder if they are the same thing I call cow peas; they look similar but I have only ever seen them dried. Of course, I don’t spend time in the frozen food aisle.

    • I’m not sure about cow peas, but they sound like the same or a similar bean. You can really use any type of bean, so I’m sure they’d be fine :)

  8. Amber says:

    i LOVE 3 bean salad. Although, it usually ends up being 4 bean, because I like the additional color/ flavor of black beans added in. I add a couple tbsp of honey or 1 tbsp white sugar in my bean salad dressing. It emphasizes the tartness of the vinegar and helps bind the dressing together.

  9. Who doesn’t have bean cravings on a semi-regular basis? I certainly do. :) This salad looks great! I might add some halved grape tomatoes if I had them on hand, just to up the raw veg content.

  10. Laura says:

    I love a good bean salad – fantastically easy lunches come from them :)

    Often, because I’m terrible about chopping onions (I get bored and end up with bigger pieces than I should…not a problem in some things, but the texture of a big piece when raw…). Anyway, I grate them, is the point. :)

  11. Purple hull peas = black eye peas?

  12. I love simply dressed bean salads!! This looks fantastic and perfect for a light lunch.

  13. curtis says:

    Beautiful! I love the color and the different textures going on! I plan on making this to go along with some pulled pork in a couple weeks or so. I’m thinking of adding some frozen corn for texture and some oregano and thyme for a bit of extra flavor.

    Just what I was looking for! Thanks, Beth!!

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