This Mexican Three Bean Salad recipe is packed with flavor from fresh veggies, herbs and a silky cilantro vinaigrette! This quick and easy salad is perfect for lunches, picnics, potlucks and parties!! (Healthy, vegetarian, vegan-option, gluten-free)
If you are a fan of beans and quick, refreshing salads sans the lettuce, say hello to your new favorite dish!
This three bean Mexican-style salad is easy to make, can be customized to taste and is absolutely delicious! It’s full of flavor and texture and guaranteed to be a hit at both weeknight dinners and summer parties!
And, if all that wasn’t enough to get you excited, this salad is light, healthy AND doesn’t require you operate an oven or grill! High fives all around!
Mexican Bean Salad Recipe
Cool, refreshing and packed with flavorful goodness, this versatile Mexican salad anything but boring or bland!
This salad features a colorful trio of tender beans tossed with fresh corn, pungent shallots, sweet bell peppers, slightly spicy jalapeno, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes and salty crumbled queso (optional). Generously drizzled with a silky, herbaceous cilantro vinaigrette this salad is sure to impress!
What is 3 bean salad?
3 bean salad is a blend of a variety of beans tossed with a light vinaigrette dressing. Three bean salad is a quick and easy side dish to prepare which makes it perfect for picnics, potlucks, barbecues and summer parties!
What is in 3 bean salad?
The blend of beans in a traditional American three bean salad is typically green beans, kidney beans and wax beans or garbanzo beans.
This Mexican-style three bean salad utilizes black beans, kidney beans and white beans as well as a variety of fresh vegetables for crunch and a silky cilantro vinaigrette for added flavor!
Ingredients in Mexican Bean Salad:
- Bell Pepper
- Jalapeno (optional)
- Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
- Cilantro (optional)
How to make Mexican bean salad?
This versatile, Southwestern bean dish is simple to prepare and perfect for quick weeknight dinners, easy lunches, potlucks, picnics and parties!
To make Mexican three bean salad:
- Prepare the vinaigrette dressing. Add cilantro, vinegar, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder and olive oil to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
- Make the salad. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, shallots, bell peppers and jalapeno. Mix well.
- Add the dressing. Pour half of the dressing over the bean mixture and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 hour) or overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
- Serve. When ready to serve, add in the avocado and gently mix together. Taste and add more dressing or seasoning (salt and pepper) as desired. Garnish with optional additions and serve!
Is Mexican bean salad good for you?
Three bean salad is a great healthy side or main vegetarian dish option!
Overall, this bean salad is high in fiber and healthy fats, while low in sugar! Plus it’s nutrient dense, a good source of plant-based proteins and an excellent source of vitamin C!
If you eliminate the cheese and swap out the honey for agave this salad is vegan!
Can you make bean salad ahead of time?
Bean salad is actually best when made in advance! This salad tastes best when the beans are allowed to marinate in the refrigerator for three to four hours, so it’s the perfect dish to make ahead of time!
While I recommend this salad is not made more than 24 hours in advance, you can store it in the refrigerator for longer than that if necessary. If making more than a day in advance, be sure to drain the excess dressing from the salad after 5 hours and then, when ready to serve, toss the beans with more (reserved) dressing.
How long will Mexican 3 bean salad keep in the fridge?
Leftover Mexican bean salad will keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. For best taste, do not add the avocado until ready to eat!
Can you freeze Mexican bean salad?
You can absolutely freeze this salad (minus any fresh herbs and avocado). The bean salad should be stored in an air-tight, freezer-safe container or bag. Properly stored, this salad should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to serve bean salad?
This colorful bean salad with avocado is a great side dish for picnics, potlucks and summer barbecues. Or, it is perfect on its own as a meatless dinner!
How to serve bean salad:
- Serve as a side with Enchiladas
- As a topping for Tacos or Taco Bowls
- Alongside Quesadillas
- As a relish or garnish for Salmon or Chicken
- As a side dish with Grilled Steak
- Mix in grilled, diced Shrimp for a healthy summer main
- Serve bean salad as a dip with chips – don’t forget a side of guacamole and salsa!
- Make it a vegetarian main dish by serving the bean salad scooped into lettuce cups or warm tortillas
Fresh and full of flavor, this Mexican three bean salad is definitely a crowd pleaser!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to stellar sides!
The best Mexican Bean Salad recipe 👇
- 1 (15 ounce) Can Black Beans – drained & rinsed (SEE NOTE)
- 1 (15 ounce) Can Kidney Beans – drained & rinsed (SEE NOTE)
- 1 (15 ounce) Can White Beans – drained & rinsed (or Cannellini Beans)
- 1 ¼ Cup Cooked Corn Kernels – fresh or frozen & thawed (2 ears of corn)
- 1 large Shallot – finely diced
- 2 small Red Bell Peppers – stem/seed & cored removed and small diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 medium Jalapeno – stem/seed & core removed and finely diced
- 2 Hass Avocados – peeled & diced
- 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves – gently packed & stems removed (about ½ ounce)
- 3 TBS Lime Juice
- 1 TBS Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 ½ - 2 TBS Honey or Agave
- 1 small clove Garlic - peeled
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Chili Powder
- 1/3 - ½ Cup Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt & Ground Pepper
Make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor and season with 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black pepper. Process for 2 minutes, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning as needed. Set aside.
Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, shallots, bell peppers and jalapeno. Mix well.
Add the dressing: Pour half of the dressing over the bean mixture and stir well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
To serve: When ready to serve, add the avocado and gently mix together, being careful not to mash the avocados. Taste and add more dressing and seasoning (salt and pepper) as desired. Garnish with optional additions and serve. Enjoy!
- Make sure you rinse and drain the beans. Canned beans contain starch plus salt in the canning liquid. The liquid will alter both the taste and look of this salad.
- I like to use fresh corn if it is in season! To quickly and easily cook fresh kernels of corn, sauté it! I’ve included directions on how to sauté corn below.
- Make sure you allow the bean salad (minus avocado and any fresh herbs) to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to serving! The beans need time to soak up the dressing and become flavorful!
- Leftovers are delicious! Store the leftover three bean salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How to Sauté Fresh Corn:
Melt ½ tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes*. Remove corn from heat and season generously with salt and pepper.
(Make sure you do not overcook corn! You want the corn to still be crisp, and not mushy.)
Recipe Serves: 8-10 people
Nutritional Information based on 10 servings
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