Heart Healthy Three Bean Salad

Mixed beans salad
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Total Time: 25 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Servings: 8 servings

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

161 calories
12g fat
8g carbs
7g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 servings
Amount per serving  
Calories 161
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 2g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 7g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 331mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Beans, aka legumes, are a wonderful addition to any meal. Rich in fiber, folate, iron, potassium, and low in fat, beans compliment a heart healthy diet. Beans are also a great source of plant-based protein and iron for those people following a vegetarian diet. This three bean salad calls for a combination of white and red beans, and fresh green beans, otherwise referred to as, green beans, or snap peas. Green beans are naturally low in calories and, if you're following a keto diet, are low in carbohydrates as well. When drizzled with heart-healthy olive oil, they they add beautiful color, crunch, and flavor to this recipe. Watch the green color turn vibrant green after blanching and shocking. Parboiling is the same as blanching but the cooking time is longer. This process helps to set color, soften vegetables, and reduces final cooking time (if needed). The beans are then mixed with red pepper, fresh parsley, lemon and garlic, yielding a flavorful, vibrant dish that is rich in nutrients. Your finished product is simple, colorful, nutritious, and delicious. Bring this dish to a barbecue, serve it as an appetizer salad or side dish, and even pack it for lunch.


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans stems snapped off (you can use frozen if you do not have fresh)
  • 2/3 cup great northern white beans (canned and rinsed)
  • 2/3 cup red navy beans (canned and rinsed)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating up, make an ice bath. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes. This will be used to shock the green beans so that the bright green color sets and further cooking stops.

  2. Once the water has begun to boil, add the green beans and boil for three minutes. Do not let them boil for longer than that, otherwise you will leach nutrients. 

  3. Remove beans from the pot by draining or with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice bath. Once the beans have cooled, remove them from the ice bath and place them aside. They will be slightly firm, but soft enough and perfect for a cold salad. (If you are using frozen string beans, simply steam them in a small amount of water until desired doneness).

  4. Mix togethter the white beans, navy beans, red pepper, carrot, and parsely.

  5. In a separate boil, whisk together the lemon, white wine vingar, chopped garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  6. Toss the parboiled green beans together with the bean and vegetable mixture until evenly combined. Before serving, dress the salad with the salad dressing, coating evenly.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Swap fresh green beans for frozen ones. You can pan steam frozen green beans lightly in a small amount of water until they've reached desired doneness.
  • Play with vegetable variations. Add more color by adding orange or yellow peppers, too. Or add other vegetable combinations that you have in your house.
  • Change your style of bean. This recipe can be made with any bean of choice. Consider black beans, chickpeas, or edamame for a different look and taste.
  • Increase the flavor and crunch. For more flavor and extra crunch, add some red onion or green onion (scallion) to this dish.
  • Swap your herbs and acids. If you don't like parsley you can substitute for any other fresh herb. Perhaps you want your salad to have a Mexican flare — swap lemon for lime and swap parsley for cilantro. You can also try dill, chives, basil, mint, or any other herb you like.
  • Make it more seasonal. Add fresh, canned, or frozen corn to your salad for a more summer-y feel.


  • If you are not serving this right away, keep the dressing separate. Dress the salad when it is ready to serve. Before dressing, let the dressing reach room temperature and mix it well to combine oil and vinegar.
  • Choose string beans that have a bright color without brown or soft spots. The peak season for fresh beans is from April to December. Most bean varities are available frozen or canned, too.
  • Washing canned beans before use can reduce the sodium content by about 40 percent. Since you won't be using the whole can for this recipe, place the remaining beans in a tupperware in the refrigerator in the liquid it was purchased in. The leftover beans will last a few days.
  • You can use dried beans, too. Dried beans are available in bulk, are lower in sodium, and can be purchased for a cheaper price. If you are using dried beans, make sure you soak them first. Soaking softens and rehydrates the beans thus reducing cooking time.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Messina V. Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100 Suppl 1:437S-42S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.071472

  2. USDA Snap-Ed Connection. Green beans.

  3. Lee S, Choi Y, Jeong HS, Lee J, Sung J. Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2018;27(2):333-342. doi:10.1007/s10068-017-0281-1

By Laura Dolson
Laura Dolson is a health and food writer who develops low-carb and gluten-free recipes for home cooks.