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I had highfalutin plans for this Three Bean Salad with its layers of multi-dimensional grains, textural beans, crunchy veggies and extra vibrant colors! I stirred the ingredients together, stepped back to admire my handiwork, and realized…I had made fancy rice and beans.

Mexican Three Bean Salad with Wild Rice in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon

Despite its lack of originality (rice and beans Erin, really?), I stand by my prior intentions for this recipe.

It’s an approachable, yet sophisticated side for your end-of-summer soirees and upcoming tailgates.

These aren’t just any old rice and beans—these are sassy rice and beans with jalapenos, cilantro, and honey-lime dressing.

Enjoy this summer salad recipe:

Yes, this three bean salad recipe is that tasty.

A Healthy Side

This savory three bean salad isn’t just delicious and beautiful, it’s healthy too!

Low in calories but big on flavor this salad is:

  • Gluten free and dairy free
  • Low sugar, so it’s friendly for diebetics
  • Vegetarian and can be made vegan too (just swap the honey for agave)
  • Packed with plant-based protein thanks to three types of beans
Wild rice, peas, chick peas, black beans and jalapeno salad in a glass bowl

5 Star Review

“DELISH!!!!!!! And easy to make too!”

— Helene —

How to Make Three Bean Salad

OK, now that we’ve established that you are about to experience rice and beans as never before, let’s discuss specifics of this Mexican-inspired summer recipe that I just cannot get enough of.

Ingredients for easy three bean salad on a marble countertop

The Ingredients

  • Beans. We have three: black, garbanzo, and kidney. I like this combination because each bean brings its unique texture and color to the salad.

Substitution Tip!

Feel free to use any beans you prefer or have in your pantry. Pinto beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed peas or even edamame are all other options to consider.

  • Rice. I left the tame white stuff behind and opted for a whole grain brown rice (like in these Stuffed Peppers) and wild rice medley, which makes the three bean salad more filling (thank you fiber) and more dynamically flavored too.
  • Bell Peppers. I love the crunch, flavor and color red bell peppers give this salad.
  • Jalapenos. The spicy peppers balance the sweetness of the honey in the dressing.


Jalapenos are one of those peppers that can either be super mild or WOW extra hot. It’s always wise to taste your peppers prior to adding them to your salad if you prefer things on the mild side.

  • Green Peas. Yes, I put peas in the rice and beans. They add a nice sweetness without which this bean salad recipe would not feel complete.
  • Red Onion. Adds some zip and a little extra bite to this festive salad.

Market Swap

Customize this salad to suit your own personal taste preferences and use what’s in season at your local market.

Here is some other tasty, vibrant produce to consider throwing into this three bean salad:

  • Fresh corn kernels
  • Matchstick carrots
  • Avocado
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Cilantro. Gives this salad that iconic, fresh Mexican flavor.
  • Honey. Adds just the right amount of sweetness to this salad.
  • Lime. The zest AND juice from two whole limes provide extra punch and summertime flair.

The Directions

  1. Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Shake together the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or container with tight-fitted lid. Pour over the salad and toss. ENJOY!


If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend and marry together.

Three Bean Salad with Wild Rice, jalapeno, red pepper and peas in a glass bowl

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Salad will taste best eaten within two days but can last three or four tightly covered in the refrigerator.
  • To Freeze. Freeze, tightly covered, for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Meal Prep Tip

If you plan on toting this salad to a potluck or making it ahead to take with you on a camping trip, I recommend tossing together the salad ingredients ahead of time without the dressing and then combining together just before serving.

What to Serve with Three Bean Salad

A glass bowl of Southwest Three Bean Salad with a lime, jalapeno and red pepper in the background
  • Mason Jars. I use mason jars regularly for sipping smoothies and shaking up salad dressings with ease.
  • Serving Bowl. These classic bowls make a beautiful addition to your potluck spread.

Three Bean Salad

5 from 9 votes
Old fashioned three bean salad with a fresh Mexican spin! Wild rice, jalapeno, and red peppers give it bright flavor. Perfect for a crowd!

Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Servings: 8 -10 servings


  • 3 cups cooked wild rice blend fully cooled
  • 1 can kidney beans (14 ounces) dark or light, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (14 ounces) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces) rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos diced (if sensistive to spice, remove seeds and membrane and just add 1)
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey sub agave to make vegan
  • 2 limes zest and juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, peas, bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro.
  • In a small bowl, large measuring cup, or mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, honey, lime zest, lime juice, and salt. Pour over the salad, then toss gently to combine. If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


  • To Store. Salad will taste best eaten within two days but can last three or four tightly covered in the refrigerator.
  • To Freeze. Store, tightly covered, for up to 1 month.
  • To Thaw. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • For more veggies, add 1 (10-ounce) package of frozen peas in with the beans in step 1.


Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 10gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gPotassium: 408mgFiber: 9gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 838IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Being an Arizona native, I LOVE all things rice and beans. But you certainly kicked it up a notch with this one! When you use jalapenos in recipes, do you taste each one before you use it? I know the spiciness varies greatly from pepper to pepper. Just curious how you control the heat. 

    1. Great question Heather! That would be a wise move, but I tend to play fast and loose and just add them, since we like spicy food. Pre-tasting is definitely something you could do to be on the safe side though!

  2. I made this for my husband last night and he absolutely loved it. The spice of the jalapeno with the slightly sweet taste of the honey mixture was perfect. Thanks for posting!5 stars

    1. Hi Amy! I do think limes are best for the recipe because they pair well with the other southwestern flavors and ingredients. That said, if you absolutely can’t get limes, lemons will do in a pinch—the final flavor will just be different.

      1. Thankyou Erin :) I’ll try and get some limes…but getting out and about is awkward for me so I tend to do all my grocery shopping online!

  3. Looks great! I am thinking of making this for a camping trip, but will need to make it 2-3 days in advance. Do you think it would still be edible if I mixed the beans, rice and veggies separate from the dressing mix, and then waited to pour the dressing on when we are ready to eat? I’m afraid the dressing might solidify or the beans might get soggy. Any suggestions?

    1. Elise, I think your suggestion for this is PERFECT! I’d do 2 days in advance, then add the dressing a few hours before serving. I hope you all have a great trip!

  4.  Great recipe! I added three-quarter cup of the matchstick carrots as I was out of peace. Extra crunch is really good. Thanks   5 stars

    1. Thanks so much for the recipe feedback, JoAnna! Adding matchstick carrots sounds delicious. Thank you!

  5. I saw this on your Instagram stories and immediately had to make it! I doubled the lime, halved the honey, and did no peas. Love lime and hate peas lol! As with all your recipes, this was amazing! Delicious and healthy. Adding this to my rotation! Thanks Erin 5 stars

  6. Erin,
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have made it for the last several Thanksgivings. I am vegetarian and the rest of my family is not, so this is a great non-turkey protein for myself and others enjoy it as well.5 stars

  7. where are the amounts for the ingredients and where are the ingredients with amounts for the dressing? I would love to make this but you left some important info out! Please answer. I’m sure other people would like to know, too! Thank you.

    1. Hi Carole! Actually all of the information is in the post. You can simple hit the jump to recipe button and you can find all of the details! Hope you enjoy it!

  8. So delicious! I was trying to find a healthy side dish for tacos and came across this recipe. Perfect! It’s healthy, filling and tastes great. Highly recommend!5 stars

    1. Hi Carol! We’ve changed the recipe up some and peas are now an optional ingredient. We’ll update, thanks!

  9. Incredible! Delicious! I love this salad. The flavors are spot on and it’s very satisfying. Personally I would double the dressing because I like a little more zip. I added a little more dressing and kept the reminder in the refrigerator and used it as needed. This will be on rotation at our house. Thank you Erin!5 stars

    1. Hi! We made it as an optional ingredient and listed it in the notes of the recipe. It’s 1 (10-ounce) package of frozen peas, thawed. Enjoy!