Mexican-Style Three Bean Salad, a simple cold vegan bean salad featuring black beans, kidney beans, and white beans. Mixed with corn, avocado, and cilantro, this plant-based bean salad is easy and delicious!
Are you a fan of salads made from pulses like beans? Who doesn’t love an easy cold bean salad that is ready in ten minutes and can be eaten for lunches throughout the week?
One of our favorite easy plant-based bean salads is this Mexican-Style Three Bean Salad. Made from black beans, kidney beans, and white beans, this fiesta-inspired pulse salad is one of our favorite easy recipes to make once and eat all week.
👉 Making a cold vegan three bean salad only takes 4 simple steps:
- Add black, kidney, and white beans with onion, bell pepper, corn, avocado, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix together the garlic lime dressing.
- Pour the dressing into the salad, and toss to combine.
- Refrigerate and enjoy!
Ready to learn how to whip up this easy vegan bean salad? Let’s do it!
👩🍳 How to make (step-by-step)
1️⃣ Step One: Combine all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl
Add drained and rinsed black, kidney, and white (or cannellini) beans to a large mixing bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, corn, avocado, and cilantro and mix well to combine all ingredients.
👉 Recipe tip: If your avocado is very ripe and soft, don’t add it until after you’ve mixed in the dressing so that the avocado doesn’t get mushy. We actually enjoy the avocado when it’s soft and covers the salad like a sauce, but if you want the avocado in bite-size pieces then either one that isn’t as ripe or wait to add it until after the salad is done.
2️⃣ Step Two: Make the garlic lime dressing
In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to combine all ingredients, mixing well until the dressings begins to thicken.
3️⃣ Step Three: Combine the dressing with the mixed bean salad
Finally, pour the garlic lime dressing into the mixed bean and vegetable salad and toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
4️⃣ Step Four: Refrigerate and enjoy!
You can enjoy the bean salad right after making, but if you want a colder bean salad then refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
❓ Recipes questions + quick tips
Both dried or canned beans can be used in bean salads. Dried beans require soaking anywhere from a few hours to overnight and then boiling to achieve the soft texture of canned beans, so the total cooking time will be longer for dried beans. However, you can cook dried beans in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
Any light oil-based dressing is a great choice for bean salads, like the olive oil, lime, and garlic dressing. If you like a creamier dressing, skip the dairy and go plant-based by blending half an avocado to your dressing for a creamy and richer dressing consistency.
A refrigerated mixed bean salad will last up to 4-5 days if kept refrigerated. Store in an airtight glass container when storing.
You can freeze and thaw a fresh bean and vegetable salad when you are ready to serve it. However, the fresh vegetables may be softer after freezing and the texture will not be the same as fresh.
Other than serving as a side dish on its own, a cold mixed beans salad is a great toast or salad topping, can be added to soups to bulk up vegetables, and can also be used as a pico de gallo-style dip for chips and vegetable slices.
Yes! Mixed bean and fresh vegetable salads are healthy. They contain plant-based protein, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and other nutrients. They are an excellent way to increase your vegetable intake.
🌱 Mixed bean salad variation ideas
Bean salads are simple to make and can be tailored to your personal tastes and preferences. Below are a few examples of ways to incorporate more beans into your diet while using this Mexican-Style Three Bean Salad recipe as a base and switching up a few ingredients for a new bean salad experience:
- Make it Mediterranean-inspired: switch kidney beans for fava; use dill, oregano, and thyme; lemon juice
- Make it Peruvian-inspired: add small potatoes, add oregano and mint, use cumin and fennel
- Make it Persian-inspired: use fava beans, add cumin or curry powder, add fenugreek and sun-dried tomatoes
🥣 More simple bean salad recipes
If you’re loving easy plant-based recipes using beans, lentils, and other pulses then check out:
Mexican-Style Three Bean Salad Recipe
Mixed Bean Salad
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can white cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1-½ cups corn about 2 ears
- 1 avocado peeled and diced
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
Garlic Lime Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- Prepare salad: Mix together beans, peppers, onion, corn, avocado, and cilantro.
- Prepare dressing: Blend or whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, and chili powder.
- Combine: Add garlic lime dressing to bean salad and mix well to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve cold.
- Notes + tips: If you avocado is very ripe and soft, try adding it after making the salad and mixing with the dressing so the avocado cubes don't become mushy. Adding sooner will mix avocado in with other veggies (which we like), but if you want your avocado in fuller pieces then add after other ingredients have been mixed.
- Leftovers + storage: This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days and served immediately chilled or heated.
- Nutrition notes: This simple mixed bean salad is vegan, gluten-free, and a great choice as a main or a side dish. It is high in fiber, high in healthy fats, low in sugar, a good source of plant-based proteins, and cholesterol-free. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of iron, which is a nutrient of concern for those following a plant-based diet.
- Recipe inspiration source: This recipe is an adaption from AllRecipe’s Mexican Bean Salad, but ingredients and amounts changed over the years we've been making it.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in August 2018 and was updated for clarity in August 2020 .