Meatless Monday – Three Bean Salad

Having worked as a cook in the General Motors building in New York City, my grandma did a lot of our at-home cooking while I was growing up. Occasionally, she would send me outside with a bowl of fresh crisp green beans, a pair of scissors, and a pot, with instructions to trim the ends, cut the beans into halves or thirds, and put them in the pot. Why outside? Maybe she needed some quiet time in the kitchen, but more likely she didn’t want to clean up the little bean ends that jumped away from the scissors.

I remember the summer-snap-scent of the beans. The repetitive nature of the task both soothed my soul and made me feel helpful. Win-win.beans green

Last week I purchased some farm-fresh green beans from our new CSA (community supported agriculture), and so I have made Three Bean Salad twice this week. Another kid-memory, Three Bean Salad was my favorite thing on the menu at KFC (a young nod toward the vegetarian I would become, perhaps?).

There are oodles of recipes for Three Bean Salad on the internet with varying degrees of complexity. I like to keep it really simple: three beans, some other form of crunch, and a vinaigrette. You could swap one vinegar for another and/or add other crunches or flavors, but quick and easy is the way to go for me. You could even swap beans if you prefer one over another or don’t have one on hand. I used green beans for a few reasons: I love green beans!; KFC used green beans; and my kids will eat them in this salad. But I have also used frozen soy beans, which goes to my end of keeping things simple. One thing I don’t do: sugar in my salad dressings. Why ruin a good thing?

If you use fresh green beans, start by trimming ends and cutting beans to bite-size. Boil uncovered for five minutes, then shock in a bowl of ice water until they are no longer hot.bean shock

3 Bean Salad
Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (or other no-salt herb blend)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 c cooked and cooled green beans (or edamame, defrosted if frozen)
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained/rinsed
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained/rinsed
1 rib celery, diced

In a small jar, combine vinegar, mustard, seasoning, and oil. With lid tightly closed, shake to combine.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Gently toss in dressing to combine.

Variations: add corn, 1/2 bell pepper (in your favorite color), red onion, cilantro, parsley, or basil

Last week I added some cooked multi-color quinoa to the leftovers and ate them for lunch. This week I will serve the salad in butter lettuce leaves.bean salad

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