This is my take on the 3 Bean Salad everyone used to make back in the day. My mom made it. My husband’s mom did too. It’s in most salad sections at the deli. I’ve tried many of them, and you know what? I like mine the best because it has more beans and is a bit sweeter.
This is a great salad to take to a share dinner. It serves a bunch of people without a bunch of effort and it keeps all week in the fridge. You can use frozen or canned vegetables. You can use fresh vegetables that you have cooked. You can even cook your own beans. See what I mean? You say you like white wine vinegar? Then, use it. Easy and very adaptable to every diet. Please take note of the variations to the ingredients.
8 cups of cooked and drained beans (don’t freak out, 8 cups is not that much. It’s like 4 cans of beans) Here is a list of a few: green beans, wax beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, navy beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, red beans, black beans, lima beans. I also think frozen corn would be a good addition and it’s not even a bean. If you are using canned vegetables drain and rinse well before tossing them into the bowl. It gets rid of quite a bit of the sodium.
1 small to medium sized purple onion, finely chopped or 2 bunches of scallions (why is it called a red onion when it is actually purple? You say to-may-toe, I say to-mah-toe…….let’s call it purple!) You can use a yellow or white onion or even a shallot would work.
1 or two ribs of celery, finely chopped (if you don’t like celery, don’t put it in)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped or a 2 ounce jar of chopped pimientos (a little more color is always a good thing…like a little more cow bell)
Dressing for the vegetables
2/3 cup of vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, organic vinegar, distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar) I have never tried balsamic vinegar, but would not due to the color it would make everything. Presentation is everything!
1 cup of granulated sugar (it sounds like a lot, but really, it’s not. You can use any sugar substitute if you wish. I’ve used a sugar substitute when making diabetic friendly dressings of all kinds. Adjust the quantity of sugar substitute accordingly.)
1/3 cup oil (I like to use canola oil but you could use any light flavored oil.)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (use a little less if you use table salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (no comment)
In a large, non-reactive bowl add all of the dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended. Add the rest of the vegetables to the dressing and toss gently so everything is coated well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight would be even better. Gently stir and mix before serving. Serves about 15-20. This is great as a side dish with anything cooked on the grill.
In the picture I used: 1 can of cannellini beans, 1 can of red kidney beans, 1 can of wax beans, 1 can of regular green beans, purple onion, pimientos, 1 rib of celery and I used canola oil and white wine vinegar. This is what I took to the neighborhood shrimp feed last weekend.
I’d love to hear from any of you who make this and tell us about your variation. Enjoy!