This is a “Healthy in a Hurry” recipe. 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 Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Ingredients in 4-bean salad
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In addition to the four kinds of beans used in this bean salad, we also add corn nibblets, red onion, and red bell pepper.
You really can use any type of beans that you like, so the recipe can be adjusted to preference. These are the beans we normally use.
- baby limas
- red kidney beans
- black eyed peas
Teaching that eating healthy isn’t difficult
We make this recipe in Cancer Project: Food for Life classes that I teach at cancer centers in Western NC and Upstate SC.
Every single time we make it, participants get excited and empowered, because many of them realize for the first time that eating a healthy plant-based diet doesn’t have to be difficult and can taste amazing.
I think the exciting thing for most of them is that this recipe doesn’t call for any cooking. We use can beans that have been drained and rinsed, frozen corn that has been defrosted by running it under warm water while in a colander, freshly diced onions and peppers, and a little Italian oil-free salad dressing.
That’s it! Nothing fancy or difficult.
Nutrition in Beans
Beans and lentils offer naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, which are better absorbed than nutritional supplements. Beans and lentils offer folate, a B vitamin important to red blood cell functioning and the prevention of specific neural tube birth defects.
Beans are also a source of the minerals potassium, iron and magnesium. Potassium helps regulate muscle function, including your heart, by keeping your body’s fluid and mineral levels in balance.
Iron is essential to energy as it assists your red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body. Magnesium supports bone health, organ function and energy production.–LiveStrong
This colorful dish–packed with beans, colorful bell peppers, corn, and red onions–has tons of fiber to help remove carcinogens and excess cholesterol and hormones out of the body to improve overall health.
This is a terrific dish to take to social gatherings because it’s so easy to make, and the color makes for a beautiful table display.
Dressing options for 4-bean salad
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 on a classroom full of Food for Life participants and they loved it!
3-ingredient salad dressing
It’s so easy to make with only 3 ingredients–balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup.
Other great bean recipes
Plant-Based Vegan Starter Kits $27
- 1/2 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing, (suggestions below)
- 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 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
- In a large bowl, add all beans.
- Any frozen corn can be used, but I have found that Trader Joe's roasted corn is excellent in this recipe.
- Add all other ingredients to bowl with beans and mix thoroughly.
- Serve cool and often.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247 Total Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 12g Sugar: 5g Protein: 14g