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This Three Bean Salad has layers of multi-dimensional grains, textural beans, crunchy veggies and extra vibrant colors—not to mention the zippy honey-lime dressing. Put this easy recipe on your summertime menu ASAP!

Overhead view of Mexican three bean salad in bowl

Why You’ll Love This Easy Three Bean Salad Recipe

  • The Perfect Summer Salad Recipe. This three bean salad is an approachable yet sophisticated side for any summer soirees and upcoming tailgates. These aren’t just any old rice and beans—these are sassy rice and beans with jalapeños, cilantro, and honey-lime dressing.
  • An All-Day Kind of Recipe. It’s not just for backyard barbecues! Enjoy this three bean salad alongside an Avocado Chicken Burger at dinner or warmed with an egg on top for lunch (so good). I’ll even admit that I’ve reached for this three bean salad cold out of the refrigerator before bedtime.
  • Gets Better and Better. Like a fine wine (and Dolly Parton), this salad gets better with age. A day or two in the refrigerator and the flavors really come together. No disappointing leftovers here!
Easy three bean salad in bowl with spoon

5 Star Review

“DELISH!!!!!!! And easy to make too!”

— Helene —

How to Make Three Bean Salad

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.
  • 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.
  • Jalapeños. The spicy peppers balance the sweetness of the honey in the dressing.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

The Directions

Overhead view of three bean salad ingredients in mixing bowl
  1. Combine the Salad Ingredients. Everything through cilantro.
Dressing for three bean salad in liquid measuring cup with whisk
  1. Make the Dressing. Whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Pouring dressing over three bean salad ingredients
  1. Dress the Salad. Pour the dressing into the bowl.
Three bean salad in mixing bowl with spoon
  1. Toss. Stir everything together and serve your three bean salad immediately, or store it in the refrigerator for later. ENJOY!
Overhead view of three bean salad with rice in bowl

What to Serve with Three Bean Salad

Three bean salad with rice and cilantro in bowl

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Make Ahead Option. 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.
  • Be Careful With the Peppers. Jalapeños 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.
  • Switch Up the Beans. 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 for this three bean salad.
  • Let It Sit for a Bit. If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend and marry together.

Three Bean Salad

4.86 from 14 votes
Three bean salad with a fresh Tex-Mex spin! Wild rice, jalapeño, and a zippy honey-lime dressing give it bright flavor. Perfect for a crowd!

Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Servings: 8 -10 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8)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 wellplated.com 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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38 Comments

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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!

  10. I loved this! Took it to a picnic and had the little that was left for work. Delicious! It has a great balance of ingredients to get wonderful tanginess. We are trying to wean ourselves off meat, so I was looking for a protein-rich recipe. Thank you for this!5 stars

  11. I’m obsessed with this salad! As a student-athlete, I don’t have a whole bunch of time to pack a good lunch, and since I do sports, this isn’t good. I prepared a huge batch of this for the whole week (doubled the recipe) and added a cup and a half of corn to it. It was amazing and it kept me full. Would totally make it again!5 stars

  12. What a delicious and refreshing bean salad! This will be my “go to” summer salad from now on for BBQs and the next time I will make this I will double it so I have plenty for myself for the week5 stars