This hasn’t been a great year for gardening, however, beans have produced in abundance. I have canned all that we will need this winter, so I’ve been looking at other ways to use the surplus.
It has been a long time since I’ve made Three Bean Salad. In the past, I made it with commercially canned beans. I located several recipes using fresh green and wax beans, and I decided to make the salad. I even doubled the recipe in an effort to use more beans.
Three Bean Salad is composed of three types of beans —usually green beans, yellow wax beans and kidney beans. They are combined with fresh chopped red onions, parsley, and a sweet vinaigrette.
The salad’s history is rather vague, but it has been known as a picnic food since the 19th century. The vinaigrette serves as a preservative over the cooked beans and the dish could be transported without refrigeration.
There are many variations of Three Bean Salad. Some substitute garbanzo beans for the kidney beans. Some recipes call for celery or peppers. The recipe is versatile, and I would encourage experimentation. Wine vinegar could replace cider vinegar for a slight change in flavor.
This three bean salad is so much better than the store-bought variety. I grow stringless beans, so it is fairly quick to make, too. It would be the perfect make-ahead salad for an upcoming tailgating party or fall cook-out. (Hint: You can even make this colorful concoction a few days in advance.) The beans will become more pickled the longer the salad marinates in the zesty vinaigrette.
Three Bean Salad
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• ½ pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
• ½ pound fresh wax beans, washed and trimmed
• 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• ½ cup red onion, chopped
• ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
To blanch fresh green and wax beans, bring 3 quarts of water and ½ tablespoon salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the green and yellow beans and return to a boil. Simmer until softened slightly, but still tender-crisp and bright in color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the beans from cooking.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, oil, garlic, 2 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl that is large enough to hold the salad.
Stir in green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, red onion, and parsley and gently toss until evenly coated.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.
Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.