For a quick and easy lunch idea, or for your next BBQ or picnic, make an oil-free bean salad. Quick and easy recipe in 15 minutes or less.
With BBQ season right around the corner, a quick and easy vegan bean salad is one of my favorite go-to salads. First, it travels well when going to a BBQ, or if you are hosting a BBQ, it stays together well in the summer weather. And, of course, I made a vegan bean salad without any oil, loaded with veggies, with a tangy tasty flair.
When I start to plan menus for BBQ parties or weekly lunches, I think about the easiest and quickest meals I can make. We are all busy, so why not take the thinking out of cooking and make it as simple as possible. Since I'm all about convenience and taste, let's make it 15 minutes easy!
Regardless if you are looking for a quick and easy lunch idea or a recipe for a picnic or BBQ, vegan bean salad is always popular with a crowd.
How to reduce gas when eating beans
Unfortunately, a lot of people have difficulty digesting beans, and gas is the result. Stop worrying about tooting when eating beans. One solution, however, is to use a piece of Kombu in your beans when you cook them.
What is kombu?
This magical sea vegetable can change your vegan life. Many people have asked me how I can eat so many beans and other legumes without the stomach pains and gas associated with eating beans and legumes. In my opinion, its real power is in its ability to take the gas out of beans; yes, removes the negative results of heavy bean and legume consumption.
Seaweeds are becoming more widely known as a healthy food with few calories and rich minerals. Kombu, however, possesses something that other edible seaweeds do not, and this is what makes kombu kelp the “King of Seaweed.” Not only is Kombu delicious on its own, but it is different from other seaweed in that it produces Dashi(stock). No other seaweed has that gift. This exclusive characteristic of the kombu is extremely important and indispensable to Japanese cuisine. Dashi is the base of several dishes and is valued as a vital and rich ingredient.
How to cook with kombu
All you have to do is put one piece of Kombu, whole, into your bean and legume dishes while they are cooking. For instance, I put a piece in the crockpot of the chili we ate for dinner tonight. I left the Kombu all-day brewing in the chili. Like a bay leaf, I removed it when I served the chili.
What does kombu taste like?
Despite being a form of seaweed, kombu does not leave a seafood taste; you won’t even know it was in there, but you will notice a decrease if not full disappearance of gas and discomfort that some experience when eating beans and legumes.
Where to buy kombu
I bought my Kombu at Whole Foods, in the Asian section, but you can buy Kombu on Amazon as well.
Since I plan to use canned beans for this salad, instead of cooking kombu into my beans, I ground up kombu to put in my vegan bean salad.
The benefits of eating beans
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in a 2015 article, "Beans Lead to a Longer Life," says, "Beans contain both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber and are very high in resistant starch. Although resistant starch is technically a starch, it acts more like fiber and 'resists' digestion. Since it passes through the small intestine undigested, it means that a significant amount of the carbohydrate calories are not absorbed."
And as any vegan knows, eating beans is a great way to get that protein everyone thinks we can't get from vegetables alone, which of course is untrue.
Why you should eat beans 4 times a week
- Good for digestion
- Helps regulate weight
- Reduces the risk of different types of cancers
- High in fiber
- High in protein
- High in vitamin B
- High in iron
In order to make a crunchy and tasty vegan bean salad recipe, you need very few ingredients. Because I like to include several colors, as well as textures, I add some additional vegetables not typically in a traditional bean salad. In my bean salad I included:
- Cannellini Beans: a popular white bean native to Southern Italy. They are large and oval in size with a nutty flavor and a creamy texture. Also called white beans or navy beans
- Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans): actually a legume rather than a bean, chickpeas are compared in flavor to cannellini and pinto beans because they're starchy. They're also known to have an earthy taste with nutty undertones.
- Dark red kidney beans: are known for their slightly sweet taste and firm texture.
- Red onion: this sweet onion is less harsh tasting than a white or yellow onion, and provides a mild flavor.
- Garlic: contains antioxidants that support the body's protective mechanisms against oxidative damage
- Celery: provides an earthy, fresh taste when added to salads
- Red bell pepper: the sweetest of all bell peppers, red bell peppers are not bitter, and often have a slight citrus flavor.
- Parsley: parsley has a bright, herbaceous, and slightly bitter taste that serves as a contrast to emphasize the other flavors in a dish, similar to lemon zest
- Dill: has a bright, sweet flavor—somewhere between anise, parsley, and celery.
- Red pepper flakes: Red pepper flakes can really be quite hot, and for those who are sensitive to heat, it might be way too much heat in a meal. So, always add small amounts until you get your desired heat level.
- Substitute other preferred beans for any of the band and legumes in the recipe such as pinto beans, black beans, or prepared brown lentils if preferred.
- For a stronger onion presence, choose a white or yellow onion instead of red onion.
- Choose thyme or tarragon to replace parsley in recipes. Dill also works very well with the combination of ingredients in this recipe.
- Cayenne Pepper or paprika can substitute for the red pepper flakes in the recipe, but remember to add in small amounts for desired heat preference. Or, if you are sensitive to heat, omit it altogether.
- Or choose a diced jalapeno as a way to add a little spice to your bean salad.
How to make oil-free dressing
Whenever I am making an oil-free dressing, I start by replacing the oil I would have used with water. Yes, water! Although water is not oil, it does mellow out the flavors of the vinegar and other ingredients. Oil, after all, doesn't really taste like anything. For instance, you wouldn't drink olive oil; that would just be disgusting!
- Red wine vinegar: It's known for its delicious and distinctive tangy flavor
- Maple syrup: provides a slightly sweet dressing component as a sugar replacement
- Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard tastes like a smooth, slightly salty, complex tang.
- Italian Seasoning: Italian seasoning usually consists of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, with other herbs and spices sometimes making an appearance
- When I don't have any red wine vinegar, I often substitute it with a similar dark vinegar such as sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or raspberry vinegar.
- Stone-ground or spicy brown mustard is close to the taste of dijon mustard as a substitute in a pinch.
- Fresh herbs add a more fresh taste, so if using fresh herbs, make sure to double the amount of fresh to the dry Italian herb blend. Dry herbs are much stronger than fresh herbs at a 2:1 ratio in terms of taste.
Not only is this bean salad, healthy, but it is also easy to make. So, the next time you are wondering what to make for lunch, or bring to your next picnic or BBQ, just bring a bean salad.
A vegan bean salad may last for 3 to 5 days. To maximize its shelf life, we recommend storing the salad in airtight containers. Thereafter, place it in the fridge.
Yes. Beans are good for weight loss. They're a good addition to your diet as they're high in fiber and protein, making you feel fuller.
Along with being an excellent source of protein, they're packed with fiber and other plant-based nutrients. Plus, they're extremely low in fat, can prolong the feeling of fullness after a meal, and can help control blood sugar levels.
- If you meal prep, as I do, bean salad is easy to pack for lunch and the oil-free dressing enhances the bean salad the longer it marinates.
- If soaking and cooking beans instead of using canned beans, soak the beans overnight before cooking.
- Keep the aquafaba (chickpea brine) from the chickpea can when draining to use for other recipes.
- Dress the salad in advance and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours because the flavors enhance over time.
What goes well with bean salad? Try these recipes.
Share this amazing vegan bean salad recipe with your friends and family and give it a 5-star rating if you love it!
- 15 ounces Cannellini Beans rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces dark red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- ⅛ cup water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Rince, drain and combine all beans in a large bowl
- Dice vegetables and add them to the bowl with the beans.
- I use a vegetable chopper to make my vegetables uniform in size
- Add herbs and seasonings.
- Set aside to make the dressing.
BEAN SALAD DRESSING
- Whisk all ingredients together
- Pour over the bean salad
- Stir into bean salad mixture
- Cover and place in the refrigerator.
- The bean salad needs to marinate int eh refrigerator for at least an hour for optimal flavor.
- Prepare the bean salad and refrigerate so the dressing and salad ingredients marinate, enhancing the flavors.
- Always be careful when adding hot spices, such as red pepper flakes. Instead, add small amounts until you get the desired taste, or skip the ingredients if you are sensitive to spice.
- Rinse the beans in a colander and shake off excess water before adding them to the salad bowl.
- Store the salad in an air-tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂
This bean salad is amazing! Made a double batch for lunches throughout the week. Great for those hot days when you don't feel like cooking.
Thank you Kathy for another Slam Dunk!!!
Your recipes are wonderful.
Hi Shari! Thanks for the shout-out! I appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed the bean salad. It's one of my go-to recipes in the summer in Arizona to beat the heat. Let me know if you try any other recipes. I'd love to hear from you.
How do I add the kombu ground up? Do I cook before ?
Hi Aida, you cook the beans in the kombu to reduce bloating and gas if you experience those symptoms when eating beans. Or, if you are using canned beans, you can add ground seaweed or dulse to dishes with beans, and the dressing will absorb and soften the seaweed or dulse.
This dressing is absolutely PERFECT. Best bean salad dressing I have tried. Thank you so much for the recipe and thank you for not using oil😊
Hi Rachel. I'm so glad you enjoyed the bean version of the dressing. I love dressing, so I understand how important it is to find one you like. Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate the feedback.