Bringing great southwest flavours to classic 3-bean salad. A great twist on a classic and perfect for your Summer BBQs!

bean salad in wooden bowl

I love classic 3-Bean salad, but I’m always open to a little twist on a classic. This Southwest 3-Bean Salad brings the flavours of the southwest with a bit of cumin and lime to the bean salad marinade and adds black beans and cilantro to the mix, as well. It’s absolutely delicious and a nice change from the usual.

This salad is also great for those of you who have a garden full of yellow wax beans to use up! That said, if you aren’t a gardener or you’re not feeling boiling fresh beans, go right ahead and use a can of drained, chopped yellow beans here instead.

Cook’s Notes

As written, this recipe uses just enough marinating liquid to flavour the beans. If you are used to a bean salad with a lot of marinade, go ahead and double the dressing.

Cooked and cooled corn kernels would be a nice addition to this salad (though we are often having corn on the cob with a lot of meals this time of year, so I usually leave it out of this bean salad for that reason.)

Be sure to rinse your canned beans well, in a colander under cold running water. It not only removes all that slimy stuff, but it rinses away some of the salt as well. Drain well to avoid watering down your dressing.

Canned beans here come in both 15 and 19 oz sizes. If you have the large 19 oz size cans, simply increase the amount of wax beans a bit as well to keep a nice balance. You might also want to increase the amount of dressing as well.

bean salad in wooden bowl

bean salad in wooden bowl

Get the Recipe: Southwest 3-Bean Salad

A delicious twist on classic 3-Bean Salad, with the addition of cumin and lime and black beans and cilantro. 
5 stars from 5 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 10 servings


  • 15 oz black beans, canned, drained and rinsed well
  • 15 oz red kidney beans, canned, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow wax beans, chopped in to 2-inch pieces
  • 1/3-1/2 small red onion, sliced in to 2-inch pieces
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil, or canola or other neutral tasting oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp lime zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Cook wax beans (or if using canned wax beans, rinse with the other beans as below): Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt. Add chopped fresh yellow wax beans. Reduce heat slightly and gently boil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and then immediately run under cold running water until cooled. Drain well and set aside.
  • Rinse canned beans well in a colander under running cold water. Drain well and add to a large bowl. Add cooked and cooled yellow wax beans. Add chopped red onion.
  • Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients and whisking well to combine. Pour over beans and onion and toss to combine well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or longer. Keeps well in the fridge if made ahead. To serve, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Salad
Author: Jennifer
Calories: 214kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin C: 12.3mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2.8mg
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