Cilantro Lime Three Bean Salad

A simple recipe pack with protein and flavor!

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!

 

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Chef Nichole

Nichole has a culinary degree from Great Lakes Culinary Institute and has worked in the culinary industry for 10 years. She also has the knowledge to write recipes using the most nutritious, fresh, and balanced ingredients. Nichole enjoys creating healthy and tasty recipes anyone can prepare, no matter their cooking skill level.

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23 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, this is so easy to make and so full of flavor. My husband and I ate it right after mixing it, we couldn’t wait. And after the next day it’s just that much better. I love your ideas on how to use this in different ways. I was sitting here eating my little portion, and just got up and put this on some green salad making it more of a filling meal. THANK YOU!! It’s going to stay in our regular meal plans.

    1. Stacey, I’m so happy you and your husband enjoyed the salad. It’s one of my favorites too. Thank you for letting us know.
      Love getting feedback from our readers. 🙂

  2. I am going to try and make this today. I am excited! Instead of the cumin do you think I can use Sazon? I made a homemade version. It does have cumin in it

  3. Am I missing something? How can this recipe be 10 freestyle points with all those 0 point ingredients??? Sounds delicious either way! Looking forward to trying this!!

  4. Great recipe. I didn’t even modify it, which is rare for me. Makes it easy and tasty for a person eating a Mediterranean or vegetarian/vegan diet to get more protein.

  5. On the previous page it does say “10 Points”:
    Lunch: Cilantro Lime Three Bean Salad (10 Freestyle Points)

    But on this page it says 3 points?

  6. I absolutely love this bean salad. It is a staple in my diet. I recently lost 22 pounds on WW, and this bean salad is my go to lunch along with grilled chicken. I also eat it as a snack. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  7. Wonderful fresh recipe…..I didn’t have quite enough fresh lime juice….I did zest 1 of the small limes and added the lime zest to the salad. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  8. This is so fresh and light. Not a lot of crazy flavors just simple like my husband likes it. I didn’t have any limes so used fresh lemon instead. Delicious! I always have these staples on hand.

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