This recipe for 5 Bean Salad is a tried and true type of refrigerator salad. The flavor of the vinegar dressing has a sweet and tangy edge with a bit of heat thrown in for good measure. It's a tasty option for making in advance, and the flavors seem to become even more robust the longer it sits.
Easy 5 Bean Salad Recipe
I seem to go through cycles when it comes to cooking. Lately, I've found myself doing a lot of nostalgic cooking and making dishes that were commonplace in our kitchen when I was girl. It was inevitable that I would add this refrigerator bean salad to my recipe archives. I love, as it travels well for family picnics and it keeps particularly well on warm days. I like it for all of those reasons, but mainly because I think it's simply delicious. This recipe will make a large batch, but it keeps in the fridge for at least one week truthfully, perhaps even longer when stored properly.
How to Make the Best 5 Bean Salad Recipe
This type of easy refrigerator bean salad is one that can take you from warm weather picnics, to build your own salad bars and the holiday buffets. The flavors in the dressing marry beautifully when made well in advance and it has a longer shelf life when it's stored properly.
- Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe for 5 Bean Salad: The five bean combination includes green beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, cannellini beans and light red kidney beans.
- To make the dressing for bean salad this is what you do. In a large bowl whisk together balsamic or apple cider vinegar with olive oil, granulated sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed and crushed red pepper flakes until fully combined.
- To the dressing you'll add the 5 beans mixture with diced red bell pepper and onion. Mix well, then place into an airtight container and chill for several hours or overnight before serving.
- I like to store bean salad in a container that can be flipped occasionally to distribute the marinade. It needs to be airtight to prevent leaks, but it's my go to technique rather than opening and stirring.
- Can I use any variety of beans for bean salad? When making 5 Bean Salad, you can adapt using any mix of beans that you like. In fact, many bean salad recipes call for 3 types of beans. At times, I've used pinto beans in place of the garbanzo beans or navy beans in place of the cannellini beans.
- Yellow wax beans are typically found in classic bean salad recipes. My family prefers the taste and texture of green beans, so I leave them out.
- If you enjoy wax beans then, replace half of the green beans with yellow wax beans called for in the recipe.
- 5 Bean salad can be made up to 3 days in advance and will keep in the refrigerator chilled for 1 week, possibly longer.
More Easy Salad Recipes to Make
This bean salad recipe is super versatile and goes with most any meal. You can also use it as a topping for a chopped salad or to add protein to a vegetarian chopped salad. More easy salad recipe you may like to try:
- This creamy Grape Salad Recipe is a retro salad that everyone will love.
- A summer favorite this Creamy Cucumber Onion Salad recipe makes a fresh and creamy side dish.
- Cherry Tomato Cucumber Onion Salad is made with a sweet and tangy marinade.
- Chopped Chickpea Salad with Avocado will add color and texture to your meal.
- See also this recipe for Fresh Vegetable Salad from Bread, Booze and Bacon.
Thanks for visiting come back soon!
Disclosure ~ If a purchase is made using one of the affiliate links on this website we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Helpful Kitchen Items:
5 Bean Salad
- 16 oz frozen cut green beans steamed and cooled
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans [chickpeas] drained
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained
- 1 15 oz can baby lima beans drained
- 1 15 oz can light red kidney beans drained
- ¾ cup white balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes [more or less to taste]
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 large sweet onion thinly sliced
- Steam green beans per the package directions and cool. Place the remaining canned beans in a colander and rinse under cold water.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed and red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved. Add beans, diced red bell pepper and onion to the bowl. Gently toss until combined.
- Store chilled in a shallow airtight container. Stir occasionally for 1-2 days before serving. May be made up to one week in advance.
Use any beans you like, same with bell peppers. It's the dressing that makes this so tasty. Very good salad.
Gotta ask. Why sugar? I've never done sugar with a (3/4/5) Bean Salad before, so I'm very curious what its overall effect would be on the salad. Is it there to combat the tartness of the vinegar, or does it bring out some flavor that I've been missing out on all these years?
I've always made this with coriander, celery salt (or seed), onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, coarse ground sea salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Then whatever mix delicious little legumes tickles my fancy at the given time.
Lima beans and I have a love/hate relationship, so I substitute those for either extra garbanzo/chick peas or more green/wax beans. My mother used to serve lima beans as a side at too many dinners, so I lost my taste for them before I ever even graduated high school.
The red or green peppers add a nice spark to this that my other iterations of this salad have been missing, so thank you for that. You can even use this as a salad topper, instead of a stand-alone salad. Nice bed of blended kale/spinach or just plain ol' iceberg. The brine (as you mentioned in another comment) is in essence a vinaigrette so it goes perfectly over a salad bed.
Hi Daniel, it's funny, I can't remember having this type of bean salad that didn't include sugar in the vinaigrette. I agree, this acts as a spectacular topper to elevate a simple salad. This recipe does use sugar you could of course, adapt the sweetness to your taste.
can I add fresh minced garlic, and how much?
Sure, if you like. I would say to your taste 1-2 minced cloves.
Sarah A Flynn
Very tasty. And extremely easy to prepare.
We enjoyed it very much.
Oh great, thanks so much!
My mom used to make a bean salad. I did not like the wax beans, either.
The brine for this salad is in essence a sweet vinaigrette. So, yes, oil is necessary. If you'd like to adapt your version using less, you could certainly try it adapting the amount to your liking.
Is the 3/4 cup of oil necessary? I'm trying to cut fat and calories and love this salad minus the oil.
This salad has been around for ages. This recipe has evolved over the years in my kitchen, and it was time I added it to my online recipe file. It's so fun to hear the variations that people have enjoyed through the years, I'm sure they're endless.
My mom used to make this salad when I was a kid but she only used 3 beans.. green, kidney and wax and put Worcestershire sauce in the dressing. It gives it that little bit of zing, I loved it!!!!!