Colorful Three-Bean Salad

May 14th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Beans are kind of like a blank slate. You can really take them in so many different directions with various spices, herbs, and sauces. It’s a lot of fun to play around with something so versatile, which is what I’ve been doing quite a bit of lately.

I’m sharing with you this simple recipe for three-bean salad for two reasons. First, it’s easy. I’m afraid that these days too many people are intimidated by “healthy eating” because they’ve come to believe that food that’s good for you is hard to prepare. Talk about a big myth! Some of the healthiest recipes require no more skills than chopping and stirring…like this one.

Secondly, I’m posting this recipe to once again put the spotlight on vegetables. I know that most of the veggies in this salad aren’t quite in season in most places yet, but they will be soon. And when they are, I want us all to be armed and ready to go with quick, easy, and delicious recipes!

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for canned beans. If you have freshly cooked beans around or you don’t mind taking the time to cook them, feel free to use those. But if you’re crunched for time and want to take a shortcut, canned is the way to go. I buy canned beans from Eden Organic Foods. They have recently begun using BPA-free cans for some of their products. They also are packed without extra salt or preservatives, which is always a plus.

This salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. Take it to potlucks, picnics, even on road trips in a cooler. As vibrant vegetables start popping up in local markets with summer approaching, feel free to swap in whatever is fresh and seasonal.

Looking for more bean recipes? Check these out:

Colorful Three-Bean Salad – Serves 4-6

2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half-moons, lightly steamed*

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 sweet bell pepper of any color, chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped (peeled or unpeeled, whichever you prefer)

1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tbs. red wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix gently, taking care not to break up or mash the beans. Taste for seasoning. If the salad seems like it needs some punch, add additional vinegar 1 tbs. add a time. If it’s overly tangy or salty, add an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Optional additions: seeded and diced jalapeno pepper, finely chopped red onion or scallions, steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets

*Note: to lightly steam carrots, place in a pot with about 1/4-inch of water. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook until carrots are just tender to bite, 3-4 minutes. You do not want them to be mushy. They should still have some crunch and hold their shape.

This post is linked to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.


  1. carolyn said on May 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Hallie, What is a BPA free can?

    • halliek said on May 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a building block used in the production of many plastic products and aluminum can linings. It has been found in animal studies to cause health complications (in the brain, most notably), so research is currently being conducted to determine the health risks for humans. More companies are beginning to package foods without BPA in the containers, but if BPA-free packaging is unavailable go for products contained in glass.

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