This classic Mixed Bean Salad is a perfect side dish for picnics and social gatherings. It’s so versatile, it can be made with just about any type of beans you have on hand.
This 4-Bean Salad can be prepared in about 20 minutes or less. The simplicity and widespread enjoyment of this salad have made it a Food for Life classic for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
We love this mixed bean salad because it’s…
- Simple to make
- Requires no cooking
- Packed with healing nutrients
- Loaded with flavor
Because it is such a beautiful dish, this is perfect for taking to social gatherings because it’s so easy to make and can even be made ahead.
This colorful dish–packed with beans, colorful bell peppers, corn, and red onions and is marinated in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Ingredients in 4-bean salad
In addition to the four kinds of beans used in this mix bean salad, we also add corn niblets, red onion, and red bell pepper.
You really can use any type of beans that you like, so the recipe can be adjusted to your preference. These are the beans we normally use.
- baby limas
- red kidney beans
- black-eyed peas
How to make mixed bean salad
The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.
This recipe is so simple anyone can make it, and it doesn’t even require any cooking at all.
Begin by dicing up the red bell pepper and onions. I like to make pretty small chunks, but you can slice them any size you prefer.
I am often asked which knives I use personally, and I have to say that it is Victorinox. They are the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives and the quality is excellent.
As I mentioned before, any type of beans can be used in this recipe, and they can be fresh, frozen, or from a can.
I usually buy canned pintos and red beans and then use frozen baby limas and blackeyed peas. But, make them all fresh if preferred.
For the canned pintos and red beans, I drain them in a colander and rinse them by running warm water over the top.
Frozen baby lima beans and blackeyed peas make this dish not only delicious but also beautifully colorful. Place them in the colander under warm water to defrost.
I also highly recommend using frozen corn in this recipe. Canned corn just doesn’t have the fresh taste needed. Simply run warm water over the frozen corn to defrost it.
Combine all of the veggies–beans, corn, diced onion, and diced red bell pepper–in a large mixing bowl. You’ll need it to be pretty big to have enough room for stirring.
Dressing options for this bean salad
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s original recipe calls for any bottled fat-free Italian dressing.
Recently, the fat-free bottled Italian dressing I used for this began to add a tiny bit of oil. Bummer! So, I decided to try using my Oil-Free, 3-Ingredient Salad Dressing with this recipe. I tried it out with a classroom full of Food for Life participants and they loved it!
It’s so easy to make with only 3 ingredients–balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup.
Just combine the three ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together well. This stuff is excellent on garden salads, pasta salads, and bean salads.
Pour the balsamic dressing over the top of the large bowl of veggies and stir well. It can be served immediately or refrigerated to marinate for a few hours or even overnight.
*Originally published January 2016
Your Questions Answered:
- Q: How long does bean salad last? My experience has been that it keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.
- Q: How do you make bean salad from scratch? Simply combine the cooked beans, corn, and diced veggies with a vinegar-based dressing and serve.
- Q: Can this recipe be frozen? I’ve never tried freezing it but see no reason why it wouldn’t do just fine.
- Q: Can I use black beans instead? Absolutely! Any beans you like can be substituted in this recipe.
Other great bean recipes
For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!
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Mixed Bean Salad | No-Oil
This classic mixed bean salad a perfect side dish for picnics and social gatherings. It's so versatile, it can be made with just about any type of beans you have on-hand.
- 1/2 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing, or 3-2-1 dressing
- 1-1/2 cups kidney beans, 15 oz can, drained and rinsed, or fresh cooked
- 1-1/2 cups pinto beans, 15 oz can, drained and rinsed, or fresh cooked
- 1-1/2 cups black eyed peas, 15 oz can, drained and rinsed, or fresh cooked
- 1 10 oz pkg frozen lima beans, thawed
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 medium purple onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (or other mustard preferred)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Begin by dicing up the red bell pepper and onions. I like to make pretty small chunks, but you can slice them any size you prefer.
- If using canned pintos and red beans, I drain them in a colander and rinse them by running warm water over the top.
- Frozen baby lima bean and blackeyed peas make this dish not only delicious but also beautifully colorful. Place them in the colander under warm water to defrost.
- I also highly recommend using frozen corn in this recipe. Canned corn just doesn’t have the fresh taste needed. Simply run warm water over the frozen corn to defrost it.
- Combine all of the veggies–beans, corn, diced onion, and diced red bell pepper, salt & pepper–in a large mixing bowl. You’ll need it to be pretty big to have enough room for stirring.
- Make the balsamic dressing by whisking together the 3 ingredients.
- Pour the balsamic dressing over the top of the large bowl of veggies and stir well. It can be served immediately or refrigerated to marinate for a few hours or even overnight.
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247Total Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 12gSugar: 5gProtein: 14g
To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Wednesday 28th of July 2021
Super easy to make, healthy, and delicious!
Thursday 29th of July 2021
Hi Dorthy- It's one of my favorite summertime (or anytime) dishes. Glad you like it!
Sunday 16th of May 2021
I love love love this bean salad and haven’t made it since last summer...thanks for the reminder! I was under the impression that the frozen corn and Lima beans were supposed to be cooked, no? I just looked at a pkg of frozen corn in my freezer and it says, “cook thoroughly”. Does it depend on the brand?
Monday 17th of May 2021
Hi Jackie- I really love this easy bean salad recipe too. No need to cook the frozen corn and lima beans. Believe it or not, all you need to do is run warm water over them. The first time I saw this recipe from PCRM, I was really surprised too, but it does make it nice and simple. Enjoy!
Friday 26th of March 2021
This sounds wonderful and I shall make it today! One comment..and I find this in virtually every recipe, it makes 10 servings and the nutrition information is there for 10 servings. HOW MUCH IS A SERVING? 1 cup, 1 1/2 cup, 1 1/3 cup?? Do I have to make it, divide it carefully into 10 dishes to determine what a serving is? This is a real pet peeve as you can tell from my mini rant.
Friday 26th of March 2021
Hi Mary- The serving size for this recipe should be just under a cup. A good estimate would be approximately 3/4 cup. Hope you enjoy the recipe. It's a real favorite around here.
Betty T. Markham
Tuesday 6th of October 2020
I made this salad for a social-distancing picnic on Sunday with family I haven't seen since Christmas. Only thing I did different was sub chickpeas for limas, since they were in the pantry. Absolutely delicious! I've done the 3-2-1 dressing before but haven't added it to bean salad. It'll be in my rotation. Thanks for sharing.
Friday 26th of June 2020
Delish! Thanks for a great bean salad recipe with a yummy dressing! I only had spicy brown mustard and it turned out great!