Red Bean Salad in a bowl

Red Bean Salad

Side Dish

Red Bean Salad is going to be your go-to side dish to bring to holiday potlucks. It’s simple to make, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and so tasty. Sweet and acidic with lots of texture, it’s totally awesome.

Red Bean Salad in a bowl

I’ve been working on a new ebook about holiday entertaining, and it turns out I have a lot to say on the subject. If you’re an email subscriber, you’ll get a free copy. Sign up in the sidebar to get it as soon as it’s ready. Anyway, it’s funny how you never really realize you might be an authority on something until you go to write down everything you know about it.

The kids at school keep saying that Christmas is going to be cancelled this year. Mid-October might be a bit soon to be making that call, but with the way things are curently going in the UK, it does seem doubtful that families will be allowed to gather in the way they’re used to. Of course, some people will do it anyway, which just means those of us trying to follow the guidelines will not be able to spend time with our distant family members for even longer. Don’t be that guy.

Red Bean Salad with plates

What makes this dish so awesome?

This Red Bean Salad is not a Christmas recipe per se, though it is originally from Nigella Lawson’s Christmas book. Given it’s gorgeous monochromatic color and the pop of green from the fresh parsley, it would certainly look splendid on a Christmas spread. But I think this little side salad is really ideal for any gathering where you’re asked to bring a side dish.

It’s perfect for so many reasons. This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan, so you don’t have to worry too much about dietary requirements unless there’s a very specific allergy. It’s better made ahead of time. It can be served at room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about how to get it hot for serving. Plus the combination of the sharp onions, tender kidney beans, sweet, bursting cherry tomatoes, and acidic viniagrette are an ideal contrast to a holiday meal that can be full of rich foods.

Red Bean Salad with cherry tomatoes

How to make Red Bean Salad

There’s not even any real cooking going on here. So if you’re not used to cooking but you want to make your friends and family think you’re an ace in the kitchen, this is the dish for you.

Basically, all you have to do is finely chop half a red onion and put that in a small bowl and pour some red wine vinegar over it. Let it hang out anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours to take some of the sting out of the raw onions. Then open a can of kidney beans and rinse them in a colander to get rid of the ugly sludge from the bottom of the can. Then pop those in a mixing bowl.

Red Bean Salad with cherry tomatoes

Cut some cute tiny tomatoes in half and add them to the mixing bowl. Then toss in your onions and vinegar, drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil and give it a toss. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley right before you’re ready to serve. Boom. Done.

You can make this up to a day ahead and keep it stored in the fridge in an air tight container. If you’re taking it to a party, just put it in a pretty dish and bring your bunch of fresh parsley rolled up in a paper towel. Then use some scissors to chop the parsley right over the bowl. People will think you’re Martha Stewart or something.

Red Bean Salad in a bowl

Look, maybe we’ll figure out this new life someday. Maybe things will go back to normal. I don’t know. My dad always taught me to go with the flow, so that’s what I’m trying to do. Make some Red Bean Salad for your friends. It’ll be awesome.

Looking for more easy, awesome side dishes? Try these Maple Glazed Carrots.


Red Bean Salad

Red Bean Salad with cherry tomatoes

Red Bean Salad is going to be your go-to side dish to bring to holiday potlucks. It’s simple to make, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and so tasty. Sweet and acidic with lots of texture, it’s totally awesome.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Finely chop half a red onion and transfer it to a small bowl. Add your red wine vinegar to the chopped onion, give it a little stir, and let the onion hang out and soften up slightly in the vinegar. Leave this for at least 15 minutes, but it’s cool to sit for up to two hours if you’re busy.
  2. Open up your can of kidney beans and add them to a colander. Rinse the beans in cold water to clear away any of that dark sludge from the bottom of the can. Transfer the beans to a mixing bowl.
  3. Cut your tomatoes in half (or quarters if they’re larger) and add them to the bowl as well. 
  4. Add the onions and their vinegar to the bowl and give everything a quick stir to combine. Drizzle over the oil, then stir again to coat everything in the oil. 
  5. If you’re making this ahead of time, you can transfer this to an air tight container and keep it in the fridge for up to a day ahead. 
  6. When you’re ready to serve, transfer the salad to a serving dish and sprinkle of some chopped fresh parsley. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Don’t stress too much about measurements with this recipe. A few extra tomatoes or something would not be the end of the world.

Also, you could easily double this recipe if you want to serve more people.

Keywords: Beans, Tomatoes, Salad

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