Lima bean salad is a cold salad side dish that combines green beans, kidney beans and tons of delicious Lima beans for a perfectly fresh and homemade 3 bean salad done in minutes. Looking for an interesting, unique, but also incredibly tasty salad to compliment the holiday get together’s or even summer picnics? Look no further!
I think Lima beans get a bad rap.
People often associate Lima beans with their child hood (same goes for Brussels sprouts), when mom used to force you to eat vegetables. But now that I (and presumable you) are older, we understand that vegetables are not only an important part of diet and nutrition but can actually be the best part of a meal!
I love this salad, which is a take on the old fashioned three bean salad, but eliminates the wax beans in place of the Lima bean – which provides a beautiful green color and lovely buttery bean taste.
Lima Bean Salad
This salad is a SWEET salad side dish that takes 5 minutes to make. Nutritional information is based on 1/2 a cup of salad. This recipe makes 5 cups of salad.
This delicious 3 bean salad is a truly dump and go salad, making it done (other than fridge time) in literally minutes. Scour your freezer or pantry and see how to make this simple, tasty, and sweet salad.
- Add all your beans together into a salad. If they are frozen beans, drain any excess water. If you use canned, drain the green beans but no need to drain the kidney beans.
- Add your sliced onions
- Mix your sugar and vinegar together.
- Coat beans with your oil, then dump in the vinegar and sugar. Mix well. Add salt and pepper, mix well.
- Put in fridge for an hour (This is a must for this salad)
Are Lima beans good for you?
Yes! Lima beans have great fiber and beans naturally fill you up, which makes this 3 bean salad the trifecta of feeling full and satisfied. Now beans themselves are not low carb, but do contain what most nutritionists consider healthy carbs- which are complex carbohydrates. Basically a way better choice then picking up your carbs via chocolate cake.
Canned, Frozen, or Fresh beans?
I love how beans are so readily available in fresh, frozen, or canned.
For this salad, I’ll break it down.
Lima, Cut Green Beans
- Grab your Lima Beans from the Frozen department. They have a nice color and texture when frozen and are not soggy, which is what a lot of people associate with Lima. Just let them defrost naturally in the fridge or pop in the microwave on DEFROST prior to making the salad. Don’t heat.
- You can also grab your green bean cuts in frozen as well. Frozen green beans are so pretty and have brighter green than canned and drained green beans. Again, let just defrost and thaw.
Green Beans, Kidney Beans
- If you cannot get frozen green beans, you can certainly used drained canned whole or half green beans. Skip the french cut for this salad.
- Use canned kidney beans – you don’t need to drain them – to my knowledge there really is no other option on kidney beans. No worries, they are delicious canned! You do not have to rinse them.
- You can always, always use fresh cut vegetables in anything and of course fresh has a beautiful taste and texture. That being said, you can likely only get fresh green beans. The best way to get these prepped is to pre-cook them in your instant pot by the pound to add to salads or simply boil till tender crisp on the stove, which take somewhere around 7 minutes of already boiled water.
4 Bean Mixed Salad
Now traditional 3 Bean salads have green beans, kidney beans, and wax beans.
I prefer to make mine with Lima beans over wax beans, but you could easily add Lima AND wax beans.
Wax beans have a yellow color which makes the salad a little brighter (if you care). They are typically in the canned vegetable area, just make sure you drain prior to adding. I would not add any highly flavorful beans like black beans, but you could try a chickpea or a butter bean and it should go nicely.
- Vegan 3 Bean Salad – Sorry everyone, because this salad contains sugar, its not Vegan
- Keto 3 Bean Salad – Again, this recipe contains sugar, but you could eliminate sugar and instead use an Italian Dressing base or simply the beans and vinegar fo ra more savory salad. I do think the sugar completes the salad so you are free to experiment, but don’t yell at me if its missing that “something” – its sugar. Its missing sugar, lol.
I know everyone loves cheese on their veggies and in this case, adding like a parm or a cheddar would not work. A great complimentary cheese for cold salads are cold crumbly cheeses like blue cheese or feta.
Green Bean Side Dishes
Need more green bean side dishes? Try
- Green Beans Almondine (hot side dish)
- Southern Style Green Beans (hot side dish)
- Classic Green Bean Casserole (hot side dish- Thanksgiving favorite)
3 Bean Salad: Lima, Kidney and Green Beans
- 15 oz can of cut green beans drained OR 1 bag of 12-15 oz frozen green beans - thawed/drained
- 12 oz pack of frozen Lima beans - thawed and drained
- 15 oz can of kidney beans - not drained
- 1 cup white onion sliced
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1/3 rd cup white vinegar
- First drain your green beans and Lima beans. If you use frozen veggies, let thaw in fridge or on counter and drain the bag. If you used canned green beans, drain before dumping. Do not drain kidney beans from can.
- Combine beans and cut up onion into bowl.
- Add oil and mix till coated.
- In a small bowl, mix sugar and vinegar, trying to dissolve as much of the sugar as possible.
- Pour in the 3 bean bowl and mix well.
- Add salt and pepper
- Refrigerate for an hour prior to serving this cold bean salad