Three Bean Salad {with Cilantro and Wild Rice}

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

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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.

Tip!

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!

Tip!

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

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A glass bowl of Southwest Three Bean Salad with a lime, jalapeno and red pepper in the background

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • 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.

My Favorite Mixing Bowls

This set of nesting glass bowls I reach for almost daily. There’s a size for every need, they are easy to store, and you can serve directly from them too.

Mexican Three Bean Salad with Wild Rice

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

  • 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 package frozen peas (10 ounces) thawed
  • 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.

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

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