Three bean salad is a simple, healthy classic. It’s high in plant protein and fiber and it takes minutes to make with canned beans. Dress with an easy vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Eat on it’s own as a side salad or as part of a tossed green salad.
Nepenthe, Big Sur, California
Over holiday vacation I was reminded how good this simple salad is. We spent Christmas in Big Sur, one of the most spectacular destinations along the California coast. Our favorite lunch spot is Nepenthe, the world famous restaurant serving poets, artists, and hungry travelers since 1949. Nepenthe sits on the edge of the blue Pacific with beautiful views of the Santa Lucia mountains and coastline. You can sit on the outdoor patio, soaking in the sunshine and breathing in the fresh ocean air. It’s a slice of heaven. If you enjoy wine, it’s a great place for a glass and they have a fantastic wine list.
Three Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Nepenthe’s lunch menu offers casual fare including their famous Ambrosia Burger, Steak Frites, plus sandwiches, salads and soup of the day. Alongside, you get to choose coleslaw or the bean salad. Nepenthe makes theirs with just red kidney and garbanzo beans. I add cooked, chopped green beans for more colors, variety, and nutrition plus a homemade vinaigrette.
For green beans, I prefer the tender, skinny, baby French green beans called Haricot Vert. If you can’t get them, use the best fresh green beans you can. If fresh are not available, use frozen whole green beans, thaw, cook and chop.
To cook fresh green beans, drop them into boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and keep the beans a nice bright green color. Drain, dry and chop finely.
How to Make Basic Dijon Vinaigrette
Making homemade vinaigrette is easy and skips the additives you don’t want. Add extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar a little Dijon mustard and one finely chopped garlic clove plus a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to a jar and shake until smooth. This is a good basic dressing for many salads, so make extra to use during the week.
Ways to Enjoy Three Bean Salad
Three bean salad is good alongside a cup of soup, as a side to many dishes and over fresh salad greens as an entree salad. To prep it ahead, add about 3/4 of a cup of the bean salad to the bottom of a large glass jar or other container. Top with chopped tomatoes and stuff full of salad greens. Pack extra vinaigrette for the greens separately so they stay crisp.
Good additions are black kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese (if you enjoy dairy), chopped bell pepper or a little finely chopped red onion or shallot. For more protein, add chopped leftover roast chicken.
Three Bean Salad
Three Bean Salad
- 4 ounces fresh green beans I prefer the baby French green beans
- 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 2 pinches ground black pepper
- Set up an ice bath by filling a medium bowl half full of ice and cold water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and green beans. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain beans and immediately place them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process and keep them bright green. Chill until cold, about 5 minutes, then drain and dry. Dump the ice water, dry the bowl. Chop the green beans and add to the bowl. Add the kidney and garbanzo beans. Stir gently.
- Add oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic salt and pepper to a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until smooth and blended. To dress the salad, add 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette and toss gently. Add more if desired. Serve room temperature or chilled.