Two-Bean Salad Recipe | Nutrition Stripped
Eat Well Jun. 26. 2018

Two-Bean and Herb Salad

Jun. 26. 2018
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Make this two-bean and herb salad that won’t leave you or your friends hungry an hour later — hello fiber and plant-based protein!

The key to making the perfect cold salad for summer parties, BBQ’s and hangs is making a large batch salad once for the entire week ahead or to serve a large group of people. The other key, it needs to be simple, and a two-bean and herb salad filling enough to not leave you hungry an hour after eating it!

That’s where the plant-based protein, fiber, and carbohydrates come into play with this easy bean salad using chickpeas and pinto beans along with fresh herbs, olive oil dressing, and crunchy toasted almonds.

Are Beans Healthy?

For most of us, beans are a great part of a healthy diet! For some, beans may cause digestive issues depending on their digestive health, health issues like diabetes, autoimmune issues, or gut issues in general.

Beans are starchy carbohydrates, they’re rich in fiber and plant-based proteins and minerals especially magnesium, but when did beans get such a bad reputation? Starches, also known as complex carbohydrates, are found in starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, beets, and beans, but they’re also in whole-grain bread, pasta, cereals, and oatmeal.

Whole-food starches and fiber are slowly digested and don’t spike blood-sugar levels as much as white sugar, for example. The problem is when/if we consume too many highly processed starches or ones that lack fiber, that can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes — think of a roller coaster constantly going up and down representing your blood sugar levels and your energy.

Legumes also contain substances called phytates and lectins, which at their core, may prevent our bodies from absorbing and utilizing the nutrients we eat. Lectins are great for plants, they guard plants against “predators” by acting as a natural pesticide, yet can cause digestive issues for some people. For most people though, beans can be a healthy part of most diets, eating around 1/2-1 cup of beans a day is just fine and contributes to a good amount of fiber.

Beyond fiber and plant-based protein, but they’re also rich in other nutrients, like magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. An easy way to increase your daily fiber is to incorporate 1/2 cup or more legumes a day, which is about 10 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving, about 30% of your daily fiber needs! These don’t have to be chickpeas and pinto beans, beans and legumes that fall into this category are also lentils, split green peas, hummus, edamame, and tempeh.

Do Beans Cause Bloat?

Maybe, maybe not. Just like any other food, we all react differently to foods because we all have a unique makeup of bacteria in our digestive system (hello microbiome). Feeling bloated after eating beans can be from a variety of reasons, mainly it’s from the gas production from eating dried and cooked beans and it can be prevented by soaking the beans and changing the water several times during the cooking process.

Adding herbs like fennel or caraway can help reduce bloating or gas that you may experience while eating beans. Also, chat with your dietitian to see if beans are right for you in general, and also a digestive enzyme may help you digest beans better or reduce bloating and gas issues if taken before a meal rich in beans.



1 cup of black beans contains roughly 15 g of fiber — but not just fiber, protein too. The combination of protein and fiber help your body balance blood sugar and keep you fuller, longer. We know how important fiber is to our digestive system and each day we should aim for at least 35g of fiber (sometimes more depending on your unique metabolism and digestion). Eating enough fiber keeps us regular, aids in a healthy microbiome, and helps our body absorb nutrients.

Plant-based Protein

1 cup of black beans contains roughly 14 g of plant-based protein. Protein (i.e. amino acids) is crucial to our health from rebuilding muscle tissue to balancing hormones, blood sugar balance, and energy production. Read more about plant-based proteins here.


Magnesium is an important mineral in our body and plays a key role in 300 cellular functions in the body including muscle function, protein synthesis, blood sugar control, and blood pressure regulation. It’s also been shown to help decrease PMS, headaches (such as migraines), and can be used to help relax digestive muscles which can reduce constipation.

Additional Minerals

Beans and legumes are rich sources of minerals, which most of the American diet is lacking, especially when it comes to magnesium which is the start mineral in black beans. Beans also contain molybdenum, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B.

The Recipe

Serves 6-8



1, 15 ounce canned organic pinto beans, well rinsed

1, 15 ounce canned organic chickpeas, well rinsed

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground smoked paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste

Ground black pepper, adjust to taste


Step 1

Rinse the canned beans very well, discard the water, otherwise if you can use dried beans that you’ve soaked and cooked for this recipe.

Step 2

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to coat the beans in herbs and olive (or avocado) oil. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Leftovers? Store it

Store any leftovers in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week. Enjoy this recipe cold or at room temperature for best flavor.

Can’t wait to see you try it!

Did you know that you can submit your own photo of whatever recipe you make from NS? Scroll down to the bottom right and you’ll see a section for you to show off your creations from home!

Can’t wait to see how you make this two-bean salad recipe! Tag us on Instagram @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped and submit your own photos in the comment section below.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302522
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25599185
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4780318/

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