Summer Bean Salad

Hello everyone, welcome to Djalali Cooks. I am kicking this week off with a Summer Bean Salad that is perfect for any cookout, potluck, or a plain ol’ summer Monday. Eat it as a salad, put it on toast! I had a vision of topping a hot dog or Bratwurst with this Summer Bean Salad. Is that weird? Regardless, this salad is a spin on the classic three bean salad; with two kinds of beans, cucumber, celery, tomato, red onion and a savory sweet dressing. Let’s get right to it!

Summer Bean Salad

Summer Bean Salad

Drain and rinse the beans, I have cannellini beans and garbanzo beans. I am using white beans because I want the overall color palette of this salad to be cool, you can sub in whatever beans you like best. For this salad, I want all the pieces to be roughly the same size, so you can get bits of each ingredient in every bite. So I have diced everything to be about the size of the beans. To take some of the bite out of the raw onion, I diced them and then soaked the red onion pieces in cold water for about 5 minutes, then drained.

Summer Bean Salad ingredients

For the tomatoes, I am using Lemon Boys because again, I like the bright yellow color to keep this salad looking light and summery. I quartered the tomato and removed the seeds, then diced the flesh. Not pictured is about 1/4 cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley. Combine all the diced veggies with the beans in a large mixing bowl. Now we will move on to the dressing.

The Savory Sweet Dressing

Summer Bean Salad dressing ingredients

This dressing is a classic three bean salad dressing. We have apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. It’s that simple. Combine all the ingredients in a jar, twist on the lid and shake until its well-emulsified.

Pour the whole jar of dressing over the salad and mix well. At this point, if you want to have the spicy component, add a good pinch of red pepper flakes. Add the chopped parsley, and mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours to let the salad marinate in the dressing before serving.

I prefer to pour the salad into a zipper lock bag. This way, if it’s laying flat, more of the salad has contact with the dressing and it takes up less space in the fridge. Plus if you’re taking this salad to a potluck, it’s easier to transport it in the zipper lock bag and pour it into a serving dish at your destination.

This salad gets better the longer it marinates in the dressing. So make this Summer Bean Salad at least three hours before service. When ready to serve, pour salad into a serving bowl and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes if needed.

Summer Bean Salad

Summer Bean Salad

The dressing is sweet and savory. It’s fresh and light. I really like the red pepper flakes in this to play off of the sweet dressing; the spice adds a layer of flavor giving the whole salad more complexity. Dicing everything to size of the beans gives the variety of textures a chance to shine. Super crunchy celery; lightly crunchy, cool cucumber, soft tomato; a gentle bite from the onion and the creamy, soft beans. And look at the colors! So beautiful!

Please do make this Summer Bean Salad! It’s such a cool and refreshing dish for a hot August evening. Get your protein and veggies in one dish that’s easy, quick and will keep well in the fridge for days. I have another salad that is perfect for summer: Esquites – Mexican Corn Salad. Pin this recipe and follow me on Pinterest, to have all the Djalali Cooks recipes collected in one convenient spot. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Summer Bean Salad

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Side Dish, Salad American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 20 Minutes + 3 Hour marinate Cooking Time: NA Total Time: 3 Hours, 20 Minutes

Sweet, savory, spicy; this Summer Bean Salad has all the summer flavors and a satisfying variety of textures. Perfect for a summer potluck!


  • Salad
  • 1 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4-6 Celery Ribs, trimmed and diced to the size of a bean
  • 1/2 large English Cucumber, diced to the size of a bean
  • 1/2 small to medium Red Onion, diced to the size of a bean (soak cut onion in cold water for 5 minutes to reduce the harshness, if desired)
  • 1 large Tomato, seeds removed and flesh diced to the size of a bean
  • 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, optional
  • Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher Salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, more to taste



Combine the beans, celery, onion, tomato, cucumber in a large mixing bowl.



Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar, twist on the lid and shake until emulsified.



Pour the entire jar of dressing on the salad and toss to combine. Add the parsley and the red pepper flakes (if using) and toss again to combine.


Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or pour salad into a zipper lock bag and lay flat in the fridge for at least 3 hours.


Pour salad in a serving bowl and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if needed.

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  • Mari
    August 2, 2021 at 8:54 am

    This looks amazing. Just the perfect light supper for a hot summer’s night. It’s so colorful and pretty too. I might grill some hot dogs for my meat lovers, but I would be happy with just this. I am beginning to realize that I don’t really dislike beans as much as I thought – just the way things were cooked when I was growing up. Everything was boiled to death, and turned into flavorless mush. Thanks for reminding me that there is joy and flavor in simple, colorful food. What a perfect start for a Monday. It’s going to be a better day than I thought. : )

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hi Mari, I am happy to give you inspiration to revisit certain ingredients in an updated way. I love changing people’s minds about things they remember not liking! Let me know how you like this bean salad! Have a wonderful day, xo Kelly

  • Deborah H
    August 2, 2021 at 9:27 am

    This salad looks delicious. I also love your serving bowl with the spoon holder – may I ask where you purchased this?
    I’ll be adding this side dish to my Italian theme party this Saturday.

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Hi Deborah, I featured the dish in my email newsletter today. It’s actually a chip and dip from Crate and Barrel. Here is the link:
      The dip side makes a perfect spoon holder! xo Kelly

  • Sharon
    August 2, 2021 at 9:33 am

    I have a BBQ party this coming weekend that I offered to bring a salad to – thank you for for making my decision what to bring very easy with this salad. I love the freshness of ingredients and the goal to get a little bit of everything in each bite. I can’t wait to make it. Also… WHERE did you get that bowl? I love how ingenious your idea was to put a spoon in the slot that looks like it might have been made for a chippy/dippy type of dish. Love it!

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 9:50 am

      Hi Sharon, So happy this bean salad will be a part of your BBQ party! And yes, that chip and dip makes a perfect serving dish with a built in spoon holder 🙂 Let me know how the bean salad goes over at the party, have a great week! xo Kelly

  • Sharon
    August 2, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Hello! I just left a reply and mentioned the serving dish! I did not read all the way down on your email! Thank you for letting us know about the dish too!

  • Terry
    August 2, 2021 at 10:40 am

    This is a great spin on the traditional bean salad. Gram will love it. I can totally see this on a bbq hot dog or sausage. Have a great week ❤️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 11:18 am

      Hey Mom, Yes Gram will definitely like this bean salad, it’s right up her alley! Let me know how you like it! xo Kelly

  • Deanna
    August 2, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    This looks like another delicious Kelly recipe that I will definitely try. Do you think it would hurt to cut back some of the sugar, or use a sugar substitute as my husband is pre-diabetic? Also, thank you for featuring the lovely serving piece. My local C & B has it in stock, so need to head over there. I never thought I needed such a piece, but your idea for using the side compartment as a spoon holder is genius. Makes it a more multi functional piece.

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Deanna, You could leave the sugar out altogether. Or if you have a favorite sugar substitute, you can use that, but use only a tiny amount, since the sugar subs are typically more sweet than sugar. I’d start with only a 1/2 teaspoon and add more from there, to taste. I love a good multi-functional piece of serve-ware too! Take care, xo Kelly

  • Suzanne Smith
    August 2, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    That sounds light and refreshing. I love meals like this. And I love bean dishes. I could eat that on a crusty bread for sure!

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 2, 2021 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Sue! Yes, this is a light, yet filling, salad – perfect for summer! Have a great week ahead! xo Kelly

  • Donna England
    August 8, 2021 at 10:40 am

    I finally got a chance to make this today. Even before it had a chance to marinate it was delicious. Love the addition of red pepper flakes!

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 8, 2021 at 10:41 am

      Hello Donna, Wonderful! I am so happy you had a chance to make this salad. I really love this one, and I am excited to make it again! Thanks so much for writing in to let me know you made it. Have a great Sunday, xo Kelly

      • Donna England
        August 8, 2021 at 1:32 pm

        Kelly, I had it for lunch with some Feta sprinkled on it. Delicious!

        • Kelly Djalali
          August 9, 2021 at 8:50 am

          Hi Donna, Feta is a wonderful addition to the bean salad; briny, with just the right amount of creamy richness! I am so happy you enjoyed it! xo Kelly