Pressure Cooker Three-Bean Salad

pressure cooked three bean salad
With it’s unique sweet and tart dressing and stunning color combination, this salad made quite an impression at a recent Italian BBQ!  Admiration came with recipe requests and I realized I did not want to recommend spending all morning pressure cooking each bean variety individually.  I decided to find an easier way.

Just as I was about to get experimenting, a reader published his results on pressure steaming beans.  Reading this reader’s bean discovery gave me a little more confidence than usual at the beginning of my experiment – it was not unrewarded.

This recipe utilizes three cooking zones of the pressure cooker, three cooking methods (Boiling, Steaming and Bain marie) plus a little trick that involves using your freezer to get green beans to last in the pressure cooker for 13 minutes – even though they are usually ready in just three.

Don’t worry… despite all of the technical innovations, it is still an easy recipe!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
5 L or larger steamer basket 13-15 min. High (2) Natural

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pressure Cooker Three Bean Salad
Recipe type: pressure cooker recipe
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Foget to soak the beans, last night? Use your pressure cooker to quick-soak them in minutes!
  • 1 cup chickpeas/garbanzo Beans, soaked or quick-soaked
  • 1 cup Borlotti or Cranberry Beans, soaked or quick-soaked
  • about 1.5 cups of Green Beans, fresh or frozen
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic, lightly crushed
For the dressing:
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
  • ½ red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 bunch Parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 Tbsp Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Wrap the green beans in the an aluminum foil packet.
  2. Prepare your pressure cooker by adding 4 cups of fresh water, and then adding the soaked and rinsed Chickpeas, Bay Leaf and Garlic Clove.
  3. Add the steamer basket with the soaked and rinsed Borlotti Beans.
  4. Finally, add the tin foil packet of Green Beans .
  5. Use a second trivet or anything in your kitchen to keep the packet suspended above the Borlotti (small heat proof cup, stainless steel cookie cutters, or a second steamer basket) - see photos, below.
  6. Close and lock the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up high and when the pan reaches pressure, lower the heat and count 13-15 minutes cooking time at HIGH pressure.
  7. When time is up, release pressure using the Natural method - move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and do not do anything, wait for the pressure to come down on it's own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, if the pressure has not come down in 10 minutes, release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
  8. While the beans are cooking, prepare the dressing. Slice the onion finely and mix in a small bowl with the vinegar and sugar. Set aside to macerate.
  9. Remove and open the packet of green beans.
  10. Pour the beans from the steamer basket and bottom of the pressure cooker into a strainer (reserve the cooking liquid if you like to use in place of stock) and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking. Slice the green beans into pieces and mix in with the other beans.
  11. In the serving bowl, combine the Beans, macerating onion, celery, parsley and olive oil and mix well and add any salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Serve immediately or after the bean salad chilled in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.

bean salad step-by-step photos

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  1. Love this! What a fun recipe to make in the pressure cooker!

  2. Healthy delicious salad..

  3. Nice. Now I’m hungry. I love the trick with the frozen green beans.

  4. Love love love this recipe. I am going to try it and send it to my dad. He is all about pressure cooking lately.

  5. Now this is a great sounding recipe! I have to try this out and bring it to one of the few cookouts left to attend this summer.

  6. The dressing sounds so perfect for this colorful salad.

  7. Beautiful and delicious this salad, the color is perfect!
    Kisses ….

  8. This is also great for summer picnics and cookouts. Keeps well, and serves a lot of people. I forwarded this to my son for his birthday party,his guests liked this so much

  9. Should the water be high enough in the PC to also cover the beans in the steamer basket? Will probably be using my 10qt PC for this because that just seems like a lot of height to shove in my 6qt electric deal and want to make sure I have enough water, but perhaps not too much if the intent is to steam the beans in the steamer basket. Thank you and looking forward to trying this recipe this week!!

    1. Ciao Andrea,

      The recipe suggests four cups of water for the chickpeas in the base but you can get away with as little as 1 1/2 cups (if your steamer basket as particularly low feet). The important thing is that the pressure cooker’s minimum liquid is reached and the the chickpeas are covered – and then a little more.

      Yes, the borlotti/cranberry beans are steamed and the steaming liquid should not reach inside the steamer basket. That’s to keep them from overcooking and also stop the red color from turning the chickpeas pink!



      1. Wow…thanks for the super quick response and clear instruction.
        Have a nice day,

      2. Good morning Laura,

        Made this last night. My husband who isn’t a bean fan had seconds. His friend who will actually pick beans out of chili had seconds. I’d say that makes this recipe a definite keeper!

        To suspend the green beans over the barlotti beans I used the foils to “grab” onto the sides of the steamer basket. No need for a second trivet!

        This recipe is being added to the list of regulars!

        1. Great photo, Andrea! It looks like your husband and friend discovered the benefits of pressure cooker beans (they’re not pasty, tasteless and boring)!



  10. My mom used to make this with some different beans, but this sounds great, I’ve been looking for a 3 bean salad recipe – thank you so much!!

    1. Can you share which beans she used? They might work with this process, too!



  11. Laura, she always used Green Beans, Kidney Beans, and Yellow Wax Beans. I never can find the yellow wax beans. I remember them being just barely cooked, more like blanched, kind of crunchy, and the dressing was made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey I think, garlic and Italian spices. It was really good.

    1. Wow.. sounds like it wad delicious and colorful, too! Thank you for sharing your mom’s version.



  12. I don’t see a “freezer trick” in the recipe, only an option to use frozen beans instead of fresh. Could you explain?

    1. The recipe calls for using frozen green beans (or freezing the fresh ones) so that they are not over-cooked.



      1. So if using fresh green beans, then freeze first (not sure it’s explicit…) psst, check the “its” in step 7 :}

        Love the low sugar: I’ve seen versions of bean salads that have more weight in sugar than beans :}

  13. I agree, the recipe does NOT instruct you to freeze the fresh beans, it only says, “about 1.5 cups of Green Beans, fresh or frozen”, which is why clarification is needed. Someone using fresh beans which they had not frozen first would get very different results. I wonder about commercially frozen (or even home-frozen) beans working the same way as frozen “fresh” beans, as they are blanched before freezing and thus are partially cooked. I would think they would end up mushier when compared to the fresh beans.

  14. Would using parchment paper as a pouch to hold the beans work? I dont like using aluminium in cooking.

    1. You can, but you would need to wrap it in foil OR tie it down with a string so there is no danger of the paper unfurling and clogging the pressure cooker valves.



  15. How do you recommend cooking 15 Bean Soup in my 8qt Elite Electric Pressure Cooker? It’s Hurst’s HamBeens Brand & includes Hurst’s Seasoning Packet. I use stock. Also, I sauté chopped thick-cut bacon & ham hocks for added richness & flavor. (Their website has a slow cooker recipe.) I’ve been following you for several years. You are amazing & the reason I took the exciting pressure cooker plunge! I waited to buy your 1st P.C’ing cookbook, was so happy when you came along with the website & then cooking classes!! I recommend you to all my family, friends, & coworkers. You are THE authority on pressure cooking. So many people are scared of P.C’ing. I understand the brand doesn’t matter, but you were correct about preset buttons (not cooked correctly for me either). Had I not done my homework & read your valuable insights, I would have thought I was a failure at P.C’ing. So…
    Thank You!!!

    1. Awwww… Karla, thank you. : )

      I checked your bean mixture and found the ingredients here. The beans are:
      “Northern, Pinto, Large Lima, Blackeye, Garbanzo, Baby Lima, Green Split, Kidney, Cranberry, Small White, Pink, Small Red, Yellow Split, Lentil, Navy, White Kidney, Black Bean, Yellow Eye.”

      There are beans that pressure cook in 5 minutes, and others that pressure cook in 15 minutes! I recommend soaking the whole pack of beans, rinsing and then pressure cooking in your Elite for 20 minutes at high pressure with the natural release – following the longest bean’s cooking time and adding an extra 5 minutes to compensate for the “acidic” bacon and tomatoes. For a “chili” consistency, use 3 cups of liquid (or just enough to cover the soaked beans and ingredients). I never really pressure cook dry beans, so I can’t even try to guess how much liquid you would need be to pressure cook them from dry and achieve a chili consistency!!!



      P.S. Would you mind re-posting this question to the forums, so more people can see it? I’m sure you’re not the only one who wants to pressure cook a however-many-bean mixture!!!

  16. My family is on the Plant Paradox diet and ca n only have beans that are pressure cooked to remove lectins. Wanting to make bean salad I thought I might put them on a strainer with one cup of hot water and cook on low pressure for one or 1/12 minutes and reduce pressure the quick way, then put in ice water.
    What do you think?

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