4-Minute Four-Bean Salad

4.28 from 25 votes

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
4.28 from 25 votes

4-Minute Four-Bean Salad

By: Joan Wilder
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.
Prep: 4 minutes
Total: 4 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 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


  • Open all the cans and empty the beans into a colander in the sink. Rinse.
  • 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.
  • Refrigerate for at least a few hours (overnight is better). Roll or flip the container occasionally to help it marinate. Serve cold.


Calories: 80kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 138mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 300IU, Vitamin C: 9.6mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 0.7mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

* 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.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

Welcome to Eating Rules!

Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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4.28 from 25 votes (23 ratings without comment)
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April 25, 2018 4:09 am

Hey, thanks for sharing this 4 bean salad recipe with us. In images, it looks great.

Josie Weigel
Reply to  HealthyLife WeRIndia
July 21, 2019 6:40 pm

Yes, recipe is just as my mother-in-law made it and we all enjoy it as she did

May 7, 2012 9:39 pm

Hey Andrew, Thanks for being a great roomie at camp. I had an awesome weekend and can’t wait for another FBLA meet up!
Take care..

May 2, 2012 7:31 pm

While this is a great recipe, SUGAR is completely not needed. The blend of a quality olive oil and vinegar will get your taste buds going without adding more sugar to our diets.

Reply to  Karen
October 1, 2014 8:30 am

I was surprised to see the amount of sugar in this, I think I will definitely take your advice and leave it out. Plus, what type of unprocessed sugar would one even use in this recipe? Thanks for the tip 🙂

Reply to  Andrew
October 1, 2014 11:44 am

Right after I posted this, I found that post on sugar. It definitely helped clear some things up for me. Thanks for the quick response, I appreciate it!

May 2, 2012 8:59 am

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

May 1, 2012 9:26 pm

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!!

May 1, 2012 7:44 am

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

April 30, 2012 2:52 pm

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!

April 30, 2012 2:38 pm

Yeah, you have a truly wonderful mom 🙂

April 30, 2012 11:50 am

5 stars
My mom makes a bean salad JUST like this. It’s one of my favorite things too!

April 30, 2012 8:58 am

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!