Sweet & tangy - a no-lettuce salad with plant based protein. Pair it with just about any chicken, fish, or Mediterranean meal. Made in less than 10 minutes!
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Kidney Bean Salad Recipe & Substitutions
It's called a kidney bean salad because the kidney beans take the leading role since this is a no-lettuce salad.
This recipe is dairy free, plant based and vegan, but to make it gluten free you'll need to make sure the vinegar you use is gluten free.
Kidney beans come in dark and light and the flavor is the same, except the dark kidney beans have a bolder flavor. You can use either dark or light kidney beans in this recipe, whichever you prefer. I used dark kidney beans because I prefer the bolder taste.
Using canned beans is easiest and fastest because they're already cooked. You should always rinse the canned beans to reduce the sodium.
Raw kidney beans come in a bag (most often) and are hard like nut shells. They should NOT be eaten raw. You'd break your teeth trying to bite one.
Alternatively, you can pressure cook or slow cook the raw kidney beans and have many servings as a side dish.
The corn in this recipe adds a sweet pop of flavor. You can use canned, frozen or fresh corn, but the benefit of using canned corn is that it's already cooked.
If you use frozen or fresh corn, you'll need to cook it first.
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The red onion is another pop of flavor, and it adds bite. Because it has so much bite, we slice it instead of chopping it. Slicing gives you a better eating experience.
Red onion is pretty special in flavor, but you can substitute a yellow onion or noonday onion.
Fresh tomato is necessary for this recipe because they give the salad its freshness. Canned tomatoes would make this salad drab and not tasty.
The cucumber also give this recipe its freshness. It also gives a crisp bite that no substitution can give.
When the oil coats the ingredients it creates a cohesive bond, and combined with the vinegar, it makes a vinaigrette.
Any variation of olive oil is great in this recipe, and you can use just about any non-fragrant oil.
Oils that wouldn't work in this recipe are sesame oil and virgin coconut oil.
Rice vinegar is sweeter than other vinegar, and it's a bit milder in sourness or bite.
You can use just about any vinegar in this recipe, but decrease the amount if you use a stronger vinegar like distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Add half the amount, then add more as desired.
Another mild vinegar that would work well is red wine vinegar.
The sugar isn't absolutely necessary when you use rice vinegar, because rice vinegar is somewhat sweet, BUT the added sugar does enhance the overall taste.
If you use a vinegar other than rice vinegar, the sugar is necessary to add.
You can use stevia or any other preferred sweetener; just make sure you measure the conversion correctly. You can use honey as well, but I prefer the taste of sugar here.
Serve it with...
This salad is a great side dish to chicken and fish. It can also accompany any Italian or Greek themed meal.
To keep it vegan, add more kidney beans or drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Store leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Other Low Carb Sides
Easy & Healthy Kidney Bean Salad Recipe
- 1½ Tablespoons Olive Oil (or a non-fragrant oil)
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar (or equivalent of other sweetener)
- 1 15-ounce can Dark Red Kidney Beans
- 1 cup Canned Corn (can be frozen but must be cooked prior)
- ¼ cup Red Onion (packed)
- 1½ cups Cucumber (medium in size)
- 1½ cups Tomato (large in size)
- Stir together the olive oil, rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and let it sit so the sugar can dissolve.
- Open the canned kidney beans and corn and thoroughly rinse them to remove all residue. Pour all the beans into a large bowl. Measure 1 cup of corn and pour it into the bowl.
- Thinly slice the red onion and add it to the bowl.
- Chop the cucumber and tomato into ½-inch thick cubes (a medium dice) and add them to the bowl.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the salad and stir. Taste and add salt if desired. Serve in 1-cup portions.