This recipe for kidney bean salad is perfect for a quick lunch, a make ahead side dish or a plant based meal. It’s loaded with bold flavors, contrasting texture, vibrant colors….and comes together in just 15 minutes.
I’m totally obsessed with this recipe for kidney bean salad….it’s my new favorite quick and easy lunch, and I know it will become yours too!
Creamy beans, plus crunchy vegetables and fresh vibrant herbs….who’s in? Plus bold flavors of lemon, scallions and radish…oh, yeah I got your attention now, right?
It’s no secret I love a dessert recipe that uses tahini, like my tahini brownies, tahini banana bread or peach cobbler. Oh, I fall for savory tahini recipes too, like low carb cauliflower hummus, baked falafel, and vegan caesar dressing. Now I’ll add this vegan bean salad with lemon tahini dressing to the list….it’s simple, tasty, satisfying and I can make it in under 15-minutes.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Beans: Plant based protein, loaded with fiber. I used kidney beans and cannellini beans for their creamy texture. You can use any type of beans you have.
- Fresh parsley: Fresh and vibrant…rich in vitamins K and C. Substitute with cilantro, oregano, thyme or basil.
- Cucumber: I used small persian cukes for their crispy crunch. Chopped fennel would be a good sub.
- Celery: More crunch…plus they’re alkalizing and offer a natural salty taste without adding sodium. Any crunchy vegetable you like will work here: bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, jicama or sugar snap peas.
- Scallions: Bold flavor! If you don’t have any green onions, use shallots or diced red onion.
- Radishes: Color, texture, flavor and crunch! One of my favorite salad ingredients.
- Walnuts: More plant based protein, plus crunch and omega 3s. Use any nut or seed, or omit if it’s an allergy issue.
- Lemon tahini dressing: Super simple to whisk together the tahini, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy: Will take you 15 minutes or less to make this tasty gem.
- Contrasting textures: buttery beans, crisp veggies, crunchy nuts, creamy dressing.
- Bold flavors: lemon, radish, green onions, fresh parsley….super tasty!
- Vibrant colors: green, more shades of green, red, white.
- Meal prep friendly: Holds up well in the fridge all week.
- Budget friendly
- Perfect for…picnics, bagged lunches, pot-lucks…the perfect make ahead dish.
- No mayo: The creamy tahini dressing is nutrient dense and delish…who needs mayo??
How to make this easy bean salad:
Prep all ingredients:
- Rinse and drain 2 (15-oz) cans of beans, until water runs clear.
- Thinly slice celery. For thicker stalks, halve lengthwise first.
- Dice cucumbers. I used small persian cukes, but if you have a larger one, cut in half and scoop out the seeds before dicing.
- Chop radishes. I cut them in thin slices and then randomly chopped so they’d be small bite sized pieces.
- Thinly slice scallions.
- Finely chop parsley, or other fresh herbs.
- Roughly chop walnuts.
Gather the ingredients and add them into a large bowl. You can make it in a large glass bowl with lid to make clean up and storage easier!
How to make lemon tahini dressing:
5 simple ingredients whisked together is all you need to make a delicious lemon tahini dressing that’s perfect for this kidney bean salad.
- Tahini: Make sure your jar is thoroughly mixed before you begin so your tahini is consistently drippy. Tahini should have just one ingredient: sesame seeds.
- Olive oil: You can substitute water for the olive oil, it will be a little less creamy, but will still taste fabulous.
- Lemon: This recipe uses both the zest and the juice for a really bold lemony flavor that is seriously delish and so addictive!
- Maple syrup: Just one teaspoon is all you need to balance the tart lemon flavor.
- Salt + Pepper: You can use less coarse sea salt than finely ground for the same flavor. White pepper offers a mellow smoky flavor.
Whisk together tahini, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Zest the lemon into the dressing and then squeeze the juice out of it. Whisk again until well emulsified. Dressing will thicken up as it sits. If it’s too thick to pour, add 1-2 Tablespoons water, until desired consistency.
Pour on about half the dressing to begin with. Toss well. Keep mixing until everything is evenly dispersed and dressing is well incorporated. Then you can taste and determine if more dressing is needed.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Don’t skimp on the parsley….it brings in so much fresh taste. You can add other fresh herbs too…cilantro, dill, basil or oregano all add so much flavor…..use whatever you have, or a combo to make up one cup.
- Pass around some extra lemon tahini dressing….the bold flavor and creaminess is AH-MAZING! It will thicken up in the fridge….so whisk in 1-2 Tablespoons water, if needed, until pourable.
- Add in black beans to make it a legit 3 bean salad.
- Meal prep friendly….make enough for the week ahead.
- Don’t worry about perfection when chopping the veggies…any small pieces will work. Just get the job done.
- Mix in some pasta, add a bit more dressing…and voila, delicious vegan pasta salad! You’re welcome.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE:
- Serve: Cold or at room temperature. Smash on top of sourdough toast, add a big scoop on top of a bed of salad, serve as a side dish or a light and satisfying lunch.
- Prep ahead: Yes. You can prep all the ingredients a few days in advance and place in containers in the fridge separately…or already mixed. It’s the perfect make ahead plant based side dish.
- Store: Both the dressing and the salad will last a week, tightly covered in the fridge…either separately or already mixed together. Bean salad will hold up well at room temperature, so it’s a great picnic option too.
- Freeze: Nope…this one won’t freeze well. I tried it, it was watery when it thawed and the greens were wilted.
More easy meal prep recipes:
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Kidney Bean Salad Recipe
- 1-15 ounce can red kidney beans
- 1-15 ounce can cannellini beans
- 5 small persian cucumbers diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1 bunch radishes diced
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 3 Tablespoons drippy tahini
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- PREPARE SALAD INGREDIENTS: Drain and thoroughly rinse beans. Dice cucumbers, celery and radishes. Thinly slice scallions. Finely chop parsley and roughly chop walnuts.
- MAKE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, olive oil maple syrup, salt and pepper. Zest and juice the lemon into the bowl and whisk again. Dressing will continue to thicken as it sits.
- Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- Pour ½ the dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste. Add more dressing if salad is dry. Store unused dressing in tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
- Salad will stay good in tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.