This kidney bean salad is packed with color, nutrients, flavor, and texture. All you need is some simple pantry ingredients and under 20 minutes to prepare this summer-ready Mediterranean bean salad recipe – perfect for enjoying at picnics, potlucks, BBQs, or as a meal-prep lunch!
Mediterranean Kidney Bean Salad
As a vegan, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of legumes. They’re low in fat, contain high levels of fiber and plant-based protein, as well as complex carbs and several other vitamins and minerals. When combined with a selection of rainbow veggies, herbs, and a simple dressing, you end up with this delicious Mediterranean kidney bean salad! This salad is hearty, healthy, satisfying, and filling while also packed with fresh summery flavors.
Over the years, I’ve eaten legumes in so many ways I can barely keep track; black bean quesadillas, burgers, sloppy joes with beans, avocado chickpea pizza, cheesy rice and bean casserole, and even black bean brownies. This time, I’m taking things back to the basics with this fresh and healthy bean salad.
With a combination of red kidney beans, several fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, and a simple tahini dressing, this vegan bean salad recipe toes the line between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. However, it contains a wonderful balance of flavor and texture, either way!
This kidney bean salad is low-budget and a fantastic quick and healthy option as a last-minute addition to any meal or event like picnics, potlucks, and particularly during grill season!
Best of all, this bean salad recipe is also very versatile and perfect for meal prep. It holds up well in the fridge for several days, and there are several ways you can adapt the recipe for a salad that will never become boring!
- Kidney beans: Either use one can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans from dry. This also makes for a great Mediterranean bean salad with extra legumes like cannellini, chickpea, butter beans, etc.
- Aromatics: I used red onion. Feel free to use green onion for a milder flavor.
- Vegetables: This bean salad includes lots of typical Mediterranean flavors, including bell pepper (any color), cucumber (English or Japanese work particularly well as they’re low-seed and thin-skinned), corn (either fresh from the cob or canned), cherry tomatoes (halved), and olives (or capers).
- Parsley: I love to use fresh parsley with this combination of ingredients. However, you can also use oregano, basil, mint, or thyme.
- Vegan Cheese (optional): Use the vegan cheese of your choice. Feta works particularly well.
- Tahini dressing: I used this simple homemade tahini dressing which, while Middle Eastern-inspired, works wonderfully with this Mediterranean bean salad recipe. If you aren’t a fan of tahini, you can use vegan mayo instead!
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
This bean salad recipe is super versatile and can be adapted in several ways, including:
- Use a vinaigrette: Instead of the creamy tahini sauce, you could also use a simple olive oil vinaigrette (optionally with dried Italian herbs or other spices like za’atar or sumac).
- Avocado: For more healthy fats and creamy texture, feel free to add avocado to the salad. Make sure to add it when serving, though, to avoid it browning.
- Other vegetables: Radish, zucchini (raw or grilled), or artichokes would work.
- Nuts/seeds: For extra crunch (and nutrients), feel free to sprinkle over some nuts or seeds like walnuts, almonds, or pepitas/sunflower seeds. Use raw or lightly toasted nuts/seeds.
- Southwest bean salad: Use cilantro in place of parsley, add some finely chopped chili, a pinch of cumin. And use an olive-oil vinaigrette (with lime juice).
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Kidney Bean Salad?
- First, prepare the tahini dressing and set it aside to let the flavors meld. You can even do this a day or two in advance.
- Then, chop the veggies; dice the pepper and cucumber, halve the cherry tomatoes, and the olives can be left whole, halved, or sliced. Then add all the vegetables to a large bowl.
- Optionally add the vegan cheese and then stir to combine.
- Pour the tahini dressing over the salad, mix, and serve!
You can enjoy the bean salad immediately, though it will taste even better after 30 minutes of marinating time to allow all the flavors to meld.
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: You can prepare the salad and dressing separately and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Add the dressing to individual portions as and when serving. If you use dried beans, you can also soak and cook them in advance, storing them in the fridge for 5-6 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Store: The undressed red bean salad will last around 5 days. Meanwhile, the dressed salad is best eaten within 3-4 days.
How to Serve Bean Salad?
You can enjoy this hearty vegan bean salad as a side salad or main. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it:
- Use it as a filling for burritos or lettuce wraps
- As part of a grain bowl or rice salad bowl
- Serve with a side of hummus or falafels and pita bread
- For a heartier meal, serve over a bed of grains like quinoa, rice, farro, couscous, etc.
This kidney bean salad also works exceptionally well served alongside all your favorite BBQ favorites like hotdogs, tofu kabobs, and gyros. Also, serve alongside other simple side salads like this keto coleslaw, creamy cucumber salad (Gurkensalat), vegan potato salad, and/or pasta salad.
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- To serve as a salad bar: If you’re serving to a large group (with picky eaters included), feel free to lay the ingredients out separately on a platter with the dressing beside it. Leave tongs by the platter, and that way, people can pick and choose which ingredients to add to their salad.
- Don’t forget to rinse and drain the beans: They’ll taste fresher, and it will reduce some of the salt content that comes from canned beans. Draining them properly will also reduce the risk of diluting the tahini dressing.
- Get creative with the beans: I love to use kidney beans. However, this salad works wonderfully with all kinds of legumes, so use what you have available.
- For more mellow onion: Feel free to soak the chopped onion in cold water for 10-15 minutes before draining and adding it to the salad. That way, it will lose some of its harsh bite when raw.
- To use dry beans: Make sure to leave time for them to soak overnight and then cook. Use ½ cup dry kidney beans, soak overnight, drain, and add to a pot with plenty of water. Cook until the beans are tender.
More Healthy Recipes with Beans and other Legumes
- Mexican Pinto Bean Soup
- Spanish Rice and Beans
- Vegan Chili with Beans
- Mushroom Chickpea Risotto
- Chickpea Shakshuka
- Eggplant Chickpea Curry
If you try this Mediterranean kidney bean salad recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Kidney Bean Salad
- 1 (15 oz) can (1 1/2 cups) kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 1 (130 g) bell pepper diced
- 1 cup (160 g) cucumber diced
- 1 cup (175 g) corn fresh from the cob or canned
- 1 cup (150 g) cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/3 cup olives
- 1/3 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup firm vegan cheese e.g. Feta (optional)
- 1 batch of tahini dressing
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Make a batch of this tahini dressing and set it aside.
- Chop the veggies; dice the pepper and cucumber, halve the cherry tomatoes, and the olives can be left whole, halved, or sliced. Then add all the vegetables to a large bowl.
- Optionally add vegan Feta (or cheese of choice) and stir to combine.
- Pour the tahini dressing over the salad, mix, serve, and enjoy!
- You can prepare the salad and dressing separately and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Add the dressing to individual portions as and when serving.
- Tahini dressing: If you aren't a fan of tahini, you can use vegan mayo instead!
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically