Three bean salad is a classic dish that’s been served at covered dish suppers and picnics for years. It’s ready in minutes and is inexpensive which makes it a great dish to serve when feeding a crowd. I’ve used a combination of my favorite beans along with some crunchy celery and onion tossed together for a new twist on this beloved retro-recipe.
This salad is full of things I really, really like – protein-rich cannelloni and red kidney beans along with fresh green beans, onion, and celery. Just about any time of the year, I have these “staples” in my pantry and fridge so it’s easy to whip up this recipe in no time. The funny thing is, growing up, I did not like three-bean salad and there’s a reason why. During the holidays, my family would always travel to a relative’s house to share in a family meal.
Now, this relative, my Aunt, was not much of a cook. She always but out the same dishes, year after year, and three-bean salad was one of them. It was made with wax beans in addition to red beans and canned green beans with a sweet dressing that just did not appeal to me. I always tried to be a good guest and show that I liked it but actually, I worked really hard to hide the beans among the other scoops of food on my plate. Now, that the secret is out, I can share how I’ve changed up this retro recipe to something delightful.
I kicked out the wax beans altogether because, in my opinion, we just don’t need them. Another really important change I made is to use fresh green beans instead of canned. These days, you can find fresh, tasty beans in the produce section at the grocery. They are easy to prepare with a quick blanch, so you get a bright green color while maintaining some crispness. If you’ve never blanched green beans, I’ve got a step by set process to show you how. You can find it here ~
While the green beans are cooling, mix up the dressing. Now, this is where I made another change. I’ve never cared for the sweet dressing on the traditional three-bean salad so, I left out the sugar. My dressing is light with a burst of freshness. All you do now is mix everything together. I love to make a big bowl of this salad and keep it in the fridge. It gets even better after marinating, so make sure you make enough to enjoy it for a few days. It’s a great side dish for chicken or fish yet hearty enough as a stand-alone meal. Sometimes, going old school with a fresh twist is what’s needed in life!
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- 1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 15.5 oz can cannelloni beans - drained and rinsed
- 2 cups blanched green bean - cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion - diced
- 1/2 cup celery - cleaned and diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley - chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon - juiced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- In a measuring cup, mix together oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, add red beans, cannelloni beans, green beans, onion and celery. Pour dressing over beans and veggies. Sprinkle on parsley. Toss to coat. Can be stored in refrigerator until ready to serve. Is best enjoyed at room temperature.