A Southern Grace: have beans, will travel

December 8, 2016

have beans, will travel


What's a girl to do when she wants to contribute to her family's Thanksgiving meal, but she's on the road for three days before the event?

I deal with this conundrum every year, and while I always bring ambrosia (assembled on site lest everything get gross and mushy), this year I wanted to do more. It was as if a light bulb went on over my head when I remembered three bean salad, a sweet and sour medley of beans that gets even better after a few days in the fridge!

You can use beans of your own choosing, from black beans to cannellini beans to garbanzo beans to wax beans. You can definitely tweak the sweet vs. sour aspect too. My mouth likes a little more sweetness, but if yours doesn't, you can cut the sugar back to even 1/4 cup.* Rosemary is a great herb for this, but I'm on a thyme kick. Also, most traditional recipes will include chopped onion, but since I find raw onion to be a terrible offender to my palate and overall well-being, it does not grace my three bean salad.

*My brother enjoyed this salad over Thanksgiving and asked for the recipe, opting to skip the sugar entirely when he made it for himself. For the record, I think he's bonkers.

So it's no green bean casserole, but that was never really part of our tradition when I was growing up anyway. Frankly, I just feel like patting myself on the back for being able to bring something delicious to our celebration despite challenging circumstances! And in case you were wondering, I've already made another full batch since Thanksgiving!

Transportable Three Bean Salad
(printable recipe)
Serves 4-8
  • 1 (15 ounce can) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce can) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces, and blanched
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or distilled vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
In a large bowl, mix the beans and celery.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, oil, and seasonings.
Add the dressing to the beans and toss to coat.
Chill the salad in the refrigerator for several hours (or days!) before serving.


Angie's Recipes said...

Simple and delicious, Grace.

Juliana said...

I always buy it in the jar, and do not like it because the green bean is always mushy...now I can make my own by blanching...thanks for the recipe Grace.
I hope you are having a great week

Marjie said...

My mother made 3 bean salad with canned green beans, canned wax beans and canned kidney beans. To this day, I can't get my head past the idea of 3 bean salad, although I'm certain yours was much better than any I ever saw.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I've never really eaten a bean salad like this before although we did try a green bean casserole for Thanksgiving and it was pretty good. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I love these kind of salads!

puppylovernorris said...

I've never seen such a bright and fresh looking bean salad before. No surprise it was a hit with the family! Can't wait to try this recipe I'm sure my family will love it too.

Beth said...

Do you actually drive for three days to get to your family gathering? That's a true cross-continent trip! Looks like your salad was a great contribution to the meal.

Unknown said...

I LOVE 3 bean salad! I haven't had it in so long. My mom used to make this all the time and I would gobble it up. What a great idea to take to Thanksgiving!