4-Minute Four-Bean Salad

Super-Simple Four Bean Salad Recipe

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a Food Bloggers Los Angeles meetup, hosted by Two Broads Abroad. It’s always a casual affair, in which local food bloggers friends get together for a potluck meal and to discuss a particular aspect of blogging. (Yesterdays topic? Pinterest.)

It’s always a fun time that goes by way too quickly; food bloggers are such lovely, enthusiastic, and supportive folks. (And I’m ever-grateful for Erika, Patti, and Dorothy for leading the charge on all things FBLA.)

Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, we were asked to bring a dish honoring our mothers. You know, something mom used to make.

Easy Four-Bean Salad Recipe

So I flipped open the three-ring binder my mom gave me a few years back, filled with the recipes she’s collected over the years.  I love thumbing through the various recipes — and seeing where many of them came from (“Grandma Martha’s Sewing Class” is my favorite). It gives a perfect hint of a rich history and tradition. There are even a couple of recipes that just say “Andrew” beneath the title — a clue that I’ve long enjoyed spending time with mom in the kitchen.

It’s funny, with all the cookbooks we have in our kitchen, that’s the one I go to most often. And if you scan through many of my posts, you’ll probably notice that there are a lot of “Thanks, Mom!” parentheticals peppered throughout. When I pause to think about how much I know in the kitchen, a heck of a lot of it came from her.

So, thank you mom, for teaching me so much, for your inspiration and guidance, and for your Rule-of-Three.*  Also, for this super-simple four bean salad recipe, which takes just about four minutes to make. I love you.

Simple Four Bean Salad Recipe

Easy Four-Bean Salad Recipe
4.17 from 12 votes

4-Minute Four-Bean Salad

A perfect side dish for a summer picnic! It's best when made a day or two before, so the onions have a chance to pickle a little bit in the vinegar, and all the flavors have some time to get to know each other.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 4 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Yield 12
Calories 80 kcal
Author Joan Wilder


  • 1 can yellow (wax) beans
  • 2 cans green beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar optional
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vinegar distilled white, or apple cider
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Open all the cans and empty the beans into a colander in the sink. Rinse.

  2. Add all ingredients to a large container, ideally one that has a leak-proof lid. Attach the lid and roll or flip the container to mix the ingredients.

  3. Refrigerate for at least a few hours (overnight is better). Roll or flip the container occasionally to help it marinate. Serve cold.

* Mom always insisted I try something at least three times before giving it up.  Soccer practice, piano lessons, whatever. I had to go three times before I was allowed to quit (which often didn’t happen after that third time). Smart woman, that one.

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Dorothy Reinhold

5 stars
Oh yeah, this bean salad is GOOOOOD! You could throw some into some cooked chewy grains (farro? wheat berries?) and have a wonderful summer grain salad, too. Very versatile, as well as delicious!


I haven’t made it in so long – that picture is tempting me to open a few cans and throw it all together. Nice change, Andrew, with the olive oil and the red onions in the picture. It’s interesting how so many memories are around food!


I suspected you had a terrific mom and your post confirms my suspicions.

Kim - Liv Life

Andrew… I have to admit I’m a big fan of bean salad, but I also have to admit to never have made it before. This recipe certainly looks like a winner. A lovely post to honor your mom!!

Rachael Hutchings

Thank goodness for smart and awesome moms!! I love a classic four bean salad and can’t wait to try out this version!