My go-to potluck dish is this cilantro lime three bean salad. It’s gotten to the point that people will ask me, “Are you going to bring that amazing bean dish?” when they invite me over to a party or a potluck dinner. I always quickly agree, for three reasons.
First of all, this recipe is totally healthy and it guarantees that I’ll have something that fits my diet, no matter what everyone else brings. In addition to healthy, it’s delicious! Everyone agrees that this is one of their favorite side dishes of the potluck, and they don’t even know that it’s good for them. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this recipe is so quick and easy to make – all it takes is three cans of beans and some time to marinate in the fridge.
The Power of Beans
I love the combination of a few different types of beans in this cilantro lime three bean salad. The cannellini beans are incredibly creamy and buttery while the kidney beans have a hearty, earthy taste. The chickpeas bring it all together with their nutty flavor with an incredible texture. You wouldn’t believe how much flavor you can create just by combining three different kinds of beans!
In addition to their great flavor, beans are so good for you. They’re a staple in the Mediterranean diet for a good reason! They’re excellent sources of protein and fiber, and they’re naturally fat-free and full of vitamins and minerals.
If you look closely at the ingredients list on canned beans, you can even choose ones that don’t have added sodium. Look for ingredients that list beans and water only, and try not to buy the ones that have lots of added preservatives.
Cilantro + Lime = Magic
There’s another reason that this salad is so dang delicious – it’s the dressing. Cilantro and lime are two staple ingredients in Mexican cuisine, and all it takes is one taste to know why they’re so iconic together.
Cilantro has a fresh, citrusy flavor that is especially brought out when finely chopped. Combine that with the sharp, acidic flavors of lime, add some spicy raw red onion, smokey cumin, and mellow it all out with some sweet honey, and you have a recipe for an amazing dressing. You could use this dressing for any salad, but it’s especially perfect when paired with beans.
Give the beans some time to marinate in the dressing and they’ll really soak in all those tasty flavors. We think it’s best to leave the beans overnight in the refrigerator, but if you’re running short on time you can leave them for as little as 30 minutes.
It is worth noting that, for some people, cilantro tastes like soap. Apparently, this is an actual genetic predisposition, not a culinary preference! So, if someone at the potluck steers clear of the salad because of their hatred for cilantro, don’t take it personally.
How To Enjoy Cilantro Lime Three Bean Salad
I really like this salad on its own as part of a potluck spread. It gives a nice counterbalance to some of the heavier dishes on the table. When I have leftovers, I usually toss them on salad greens to make a quick and easy lunch. I’ve also used them as a pasta topper (along with some grilled chicken) or rolled them up in a tortilla with scrambled eggs to make amazing breakfast burritos.
My absolute favorite thing to do with leftover three bean salad is to make soup. Place the salad in the blender and puree it with some vegetable broth. The salad already has so much flavor, you don’t really need to add anything else! Heat up the pureed beans and voila – instant soup!
The possibilities are endless with this delicious, nutritious bean salad. So what do you think – will this become your new staple recipe for potlucks and block parties? Let us know in the comments how it turned out!
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 308 | Calories: 308 | Total Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 525mg | Carbohydrates: 49g | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Protein: 14g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 3
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minute, best if the salad is allowed to rest overnight. Toss before serving and enjoy.