17 Bean Salad Recipes for Summer

From a smoky chickpea number with bacon and Cotija to a simple pairing of plump cranberry beans and tender poached salmon, these bean salads are anything but boring.

Warm Spanish-Style Giant Bean Salad With Smoked Paprika and Celery

This Spanish-style appetizer comes in at just under 5 minutes, but it packs a serious flavor punch. Tender, creamy lima beans are coated with extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a pinch of smoked paprika.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

The advantages of bean salads are many—they're nutritious, economical, and easy to prepare, and they'll keep well in the refrigerator for days. The primary downside is that they're usually boring. Even the phrase "bean salad" doesn't feel particularly inspirational; you don't generally expect it to be followed up with "Yay!" or "Can't wait for that bean salad!"

But to make a bean salad that's both practical and crave-able is easier than you might think. Cook your beans well, prioritize setting up contrasts in texture and flavor, and, whatever you do, don't skimp on the vinaigrette! Beans readily soak up liquid, so they often require more (and more intensely flavored) dressing.

Ready to get cooking? Keep scrolling for 17 bean salads that you'll truly look forward to eating, including a smoky chickpea salad with bacon and Cotija, a simple pairing of plump cranberry beans and tender poached salmon, and a few seasonally suitable salads using crunchy fresh green beans.