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Fiesta Bean Salad

New fangled bean salad with a little fiesta flair

Summer Picnic Perfect

As a kid I thought beans were just OK but it was mostly a texture thing.  I am not sure when I acquired a taste for beans but I love them now. I think it was when I was a teenager and Aunt Lorraine brought her Three Bean Salad to our family reunion buffet. She used green beans, kidney beans, and wax beans. It tasted really yummy marinated in the sauce.  This festive version of her dish is loaded with legumes minus vegetable beans. The addition of some tomatoes and corn plus cilantro make it gourmet. It goes really great as a side with hamburgers, oven fried chicken or Sloppy Joes and even barbecued Beef or Pork.

Fiesta-Bean-SaladWhat I love about this salad is that most of the ingredients are naturally the right size. Store everything in your pantry except a couple of fresh items. When you have a half bunch of cilantro leftover it’s a great time to make up this salad.  It’s very healthy, loaded with nutrients and low in calories.  Make up a batch and nosh on it for the next few days, first as a side dish, then for lunch, and finally as a snack. The vinegary sauce soaks into the beans and gets better with time.  Perfect for a summer reunion buffet as it keeps well without refrigeration.

Recipe: Fiesta Bean Salad

Prep Time: 12 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 12 servings | Level: Easy


  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can light Red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small or 1 large tomato, diced the size of kidney beans
  • 1/2 large red onion, rough diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Oil and Vinegar Dressing

  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, cumin and oil and whisk until the sugar is mostly dissolved.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes, onion, corn and cilantro. Give it a gentle stir to combine.

3. Served right away for a fresh and bright flavor.  Marinate for couple hours or even overnight to marry sauce with the legumes.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange white balsamic for regular white vinegar.
  • Use any combination of beans you like. Choose beans that have contrasting colors. Other options are navy, cannellini, black eyed peas or pinto.
  • Exchange tomatoes for red pepper.

Inspiration – Aunt Lorraine Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: May 2, 2012

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4 Responses to Fiesta Bean Salad

  1. Audrey March 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Love the elephant!!

    • helenhorton March 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Me too!

  2. Kristie June 27, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    had this at a church party 2 Christmases ago. Can’t wait to make it again today!

    • helenhorton June 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      I love to make this salad and stow it in the fridge to knosh on all week. It’s healthy!

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