Mixed Bean Salad

BY : PUBLISHED : February 22nd, 2022 UPDATED: June 23rd, 2022

Mexican Bean Salad uses 3 types of beans and is quick, simple, and packed with protein, fiber, flavor, and texture! Perfect for potlucks, BBQs, picnics, etc.!

completed mixed bean salad in serving bowl with ingredients against a white background

Quick, Simple, Fresh Mexican Bean Salad

Dreaming of summer has us turning to fresh and summery dishes like tofu lettuce wraps, Lemon-garlic Mediterranean Quinoa, and this super simple and healthy Mexican bean salad. A combination of inexpensive, kitchen/ pantry-friendly ingredients like beans, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and summer lime make up just a few elements of this fresh Mexican three bean salad, perfect for impressing on taco nights and gatherings with its combination of texture, color, and flavor!

This easy mixed bean salad is the perfect choice for maximum flavor with minimum effort. There’s minimal chopping, then you just chuck it all together in a bowl and allow it to sit and ‘marinate’ for 10 minutes. That’s it – in 15 minutes, you have a delicious, wholesome appetizer or side to keep you satiated for hours.

This Mexican 3 bean salad is also wonderfully versatile. Use any combination of beans, toss in extra veggies (like delicious avocado corn mixed bean salad), adjust the amount of acidity, etc. Read below for all our top recommendations. In the meantime, you might also enjoy this mango black bean salad, mango cucumber salsa, or vegan calabacitas!

The Ingredients

This Mexican bean salad requires just a handful of inexpensive pantry/ kitchen basics, including:

  • Beans: Use 3 cans of any beans; black beans, pinto, red kidney beans, Great Northern, a mixed bean can, etc. Use low sodium if preferred. You can also cook the beans from dry (you’ll need around 1 ½ cups total of dried beans).
  • Bell pepper: We used red bell pepper, but any color works.
  • Red onion: Finely chopped. Soak in ice water or lemon juice for 10 minutes for a mellower flavor (but the dressing will naturally mellow it over time).
  • Tomato: Use the best tomato you can find during tomato season, then turn to cherry tomatoes the rest of the year. De-seed them if you want a less ‘soggy’ cold bean salad recipe.
  • Garlic: Adjust the amount to taste.
  • Cilantro: Couldn’t have a Mexican bean salad without a big handful of chopped cilantro (coriander). If you aren’t a fan, parsley will work in its place.
  • Lime: Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor. Lemon would also work.
  • Vinegar: Use either apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar for the best results.
  • Olive oil: High-quality extra-virgin olive oil is best (and you only need a teaspoon, so it’s still inexpensive to make, too!)
  • Seasonings: This Mexican three bean salad relies on a simple blend of earthy ground cumin and coriander with salt and black pepper.

ingredients for mixed bean salad against a white background

Optional add-ins & Recipe Variations

This easy bean salad is super versatile and perfect for boosting with additional fresh vegetables and summery, Mexican/ Southwestern flavors, including:

  • Cucumber: Add diced cucumber. Persian or English cucumbers are best for their thin skin and fewer seeds.
  • Corn: Add around ⅓-1 cup canned, frozen (and thawed. Cook and cool if you want to eliminate the slight risk of food-borne illness), or grill the corn for subtle sweetness, color, and crunch.
  • Avocado: Just like avocado corn black bean salad, we love the addition of creamy avocado in this Mexican 3 bean salad. Add 1 small or ½-1 medium avocado, finely diced. It’s best to do so only when serving, as avocado bean salad doesn’t store well (without browning).
  • Spice: Add a little heat with red pepper flakes or some finely chopped chili.
  • Quinoa: Add 1 cup of cooked quinoa for more protein and a heartier mixed bean salad.
  • Sweetener: With the combination of lime and vinegar, this Mexican bean salad recipe is fairly tart. Add a small amount of maple syrup/agave to balance the acidity.
  • Nuts/Seeds: Lightly toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc., will add crunch, protein, and heart-healthy fats.
  • Mango/Pineapple: The combination of sweet and savory works amazingly in Mexican salad and salsa recipes. Make sure the fruit is ripe for the best flavor.
  • Leafy greens: Adapt it into more of a green salad by serving it over a bed of greens.

How to Make Mexican Bean Salad?

1) First, drain and rinse the cans of beans. At the same time, rinse and finely dice the bell pepper, red onion, and tomato, and finely mince the garlic. Also, chop the cilantro and transfer all those ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

ingredients for mixed bean salad against a white background ingredients for mixed bean salad against a white background process of adding mixed bean salad ingredients into a white bowl

2) Then, add the remaining ingredients to the three bean salad, toss well, and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to meld and marinate.

process of adding additional ingredients to a white bowl process of mixing ingredients of mixed bean salad in bowl

After the 10 minutes, give it a taste, adjust any seasonings, and then enjoy!

Storing Instructions

You can assemble the Mexican three bean salad up to a day in advance to marinate covered in the refrigerator (for even better flavor!). Once fully assembled, store any leftovers for 3-4 days, though the textures will be best on days one and two.

You may be able to freeze the salad for up to 3 months, minus the tomato; however, we haven’t tried. If you do, let us know in the comments.

completed mixed bean salad in serving bowl and individual bowl against a white background

What to Serve with Mexican Bean Salad?

The simplicity of this Mexican three bean salad makes it perfect for a last-minute side dish or appetizer. Here are a few ways to enjoy it:

Plus, since this 3 bean salad is definitely summer-ready, it makes for the perfect addition to BBQs and summer potlucks!

Top Recipe Tips, Notes, and FAQs

  • Adjust the amount of acidity: Either reduce the amount of lime juice added OR balance the acidity with a small amount of sweetener.
  • Allow it to marinate: We’ve suggested at least 10 minutes of ‘resting’ time before enjoying the Mexican three bean salad. But, if you have the patience, 30 minutes is even better! This will allow all the flavors in the salad to meld for a better overall flavor.
  • Top tip for low budgets: Dried beans are more inexpensive than canned and can be cooked in large batches and stored in the freezer.
  • If adding avocado: Only add it when serving to avoid it browning within the salad as it sits.

completed mixed bean salad in serving bowl with ingredients against a white background

More Easy Vegan Bean Recipes

Also, check out our collection of 59 Ways to Use a Can of Beans.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed mixed bean salad in serving bowl and individual bowl against a white background

Mixed Bean Salad

Stefan
Mexican Bean Salad uses 3 types of beans and is quick, simple, and packed with protein, fiber, flavor, and texture! Perfect for potlucks, BBQs, picnics, etc.! – all you do is throw a few things together in a big bowl and let it sit for ten minutes.
5 from 24 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Marinate 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 310 kcal
METHOD No Cook
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cans (15-ounce) cans of any kind of beans you like, drained, thoroughly rinsed, and drained again
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ of a red onion, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider or sherry vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix the beans, bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, and cilantro together.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, season to taste, and let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Notes

  • Adjust the amount of acidity: Either reduce the amount of lime juice added OR balance the acidity with a small amount of sweetener.
  • Allow it to marinate: We’ve suggested at least 10 minutes of ‘resting’ time before enjoying the Mexican three bean salad. But, if you have the patience, 30 minutes is even better! This will allow all the flavors in the salad to meld for a better overall flavor.
  • Top tip for low budgets: Dried beans are more inexpensive than canned and can be cooked in large batches and stored in the freezer.
  • If adding avocado: Only add it when serving to avoid it browning within the salad as it sits.

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 19gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 875mgPotassium: 1070mgFiber: 19gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1269IUVitamin C: 50mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jay says

    This salad is sooo good! Super easy to make too

    • Andrea White says

      So colorful and delicious!

  2. Michelle Cehn says

    This is so fresh!! Love this healthy bean salad 🙂

    • Andrea White says

      Always light yet filling at the same time!

  3. Jami Gerke says

    I love bean salads. They make for the perfect side dish, salsa, or topping.

    • Andrea White says

      They're my favorite too! So easy!

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