Tangy, Zippy 3-Bean Salad uses fresh green beans with canned garbanzo and kidney beans. Full of herbs and spices, this salad gets more delicious as it marinates.
Labor Day Weekend is the last “hurrah” of summer here in the U.S. For my family, it always involves grilling out, with all the traditional appetizers, snacks, and sides.
This year, that cookout looks a little different. Everyone is tired of this 2020 goat rodeo, but we can’t let up on being vigilant and safe. So, we’ll still be holding a socially distanced cookout. (For ideas about how to pull this off, check out Favorite Party & Potluck Recipes for July 4th and Virtual Memorial Day Potluck Recipes Roundup.)
It seems like somebody always shows up to our cookouts with a deli container full of 3-bean salad.
I figured it was time to post an easy, delicious, homemade recipe that far outshines anything you’ll get at the deli counter.
What goes in 3-Bean Salad?
I’m all about using canned garbanzos and kidney beans. However…I don’t know if it was something from my childhood that scarred me for life, or what. But, I can’t even think about canned green beans without gagging. That’s why I always use fresh green beans. OR, I parcook the beans and freeze them. (You’ll see that my Green Beans with Bacon and Onions and Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole also use this strategy.)
I spring for the 3-lb bags of haricots verts (French green beans) at my local wholesale club. As soon as I get home, I boil a pot of water, drop in the beans for 6 minutes, and then shock in an ice water bath. Whatever I’m not using right away goes into freezer bags for an easy side later on.
Fresh green beans give the salad the vibrant color you see in the photos. Note that as the beans marinate, they will darken to a duller color. But they’ll be no less delicious. (Actually, they’ll be more delicious.)
I like a bit of crunch from celery. Based on how much crunch you like, slice celery on a sharp bias from ~1/6″ to 1/4″ thick. I add red onions not just for their flavor, but also their gorgeous color, which deepens as they marinate in the dressing.
Herbs and seasonings
I’ve used both dried and fresh dill. I have to say that fresh gives you better flavor, but dried is more convenient. I add a bit of onion powder. I also use a seasoning mix that has mustard seed, rosemary, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Of course, there’s salt and pepper.
The part that makes Tangy 3-bean salad tangy is seasoned rice vinegar. I also add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil.
Assembling your Tangy 3-Bean Salad
First, drain and rinse the beans. While the beans are draining, add some vinegar to a small bowl to make the dressing. Add your dill, seasoning mix, onion powder, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Whisk together.
Alternatively, add all ingredients to a jar and shake.
Next, add the beans and vegetables to a large plastic storage container. Add the dressing, shake well, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
That’s it! This 3-bean salad is an ideal side for just about anything. I make a big batch and my family eats it for days afterward: with meat, over rice, by itself…
I hope that your Labor Day weekend celebrations are epic and delicious.
Stay safe. Stay well.
- 1 lb French-style green beans (haricots verts), boiled 6 minutes and shocked in ice water.
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 cup celery, cut on the bias ~1/4" thick
- 16 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 16 oz garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
- Add 1 tsp seasoning mix (I like Bavarian seasoning from Penzeys)
- 1/2 tsp coarse onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk together the vinegar, dill, seasoning mix, onion powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil (or add it all to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake).
- Add all beans, onion, and celery to a plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Lid the container and shake well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.