Fresh Three-Bean Salad ♥ Recipe

Not your mother's three-bean salad
The traditional three-bean salad but "made over" with fresh green beans instead of canned green beans and "made lighter" with less oil and less sugar.

How is it that so many great potluck dishes rely on canned vegetables? Maybe it's because they're dashed together before church or an afternoon gathering? No matter.

Making a three-bean salad with fresh beans -- here, with a mix of yellow and green, isn't it pretty?! -- does take longer but the outcome is, well, praise-worthy. In fact, it wouldn't take much longer to double the recipe, which is what I'll do next time, this is so good.

The recipe inspiration came from a Cook's Illustrated e-mail. I've lightened it considerably, dropping the oil from 8 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons, the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup. These changes really make the salad all about the beans -- and isn't that the point? the recipe name isn't "Oil and Sugar Salad", after all. I questioned the introduction of parsley but in the end, glad I kept it in, for it adds new dimensions of flavor and freshness.

WISH I'D THOUGHT OF THIS This recipe would be great with Splenda -- and might satisfy those who like three-bean salad slightly sweeter.

WHO KNEW? that the standard green bean salad has four Weight Watchers points per serving?! That's awful!!

FRESH THREE-BEAN SALAD

Hands-on time: 30 minutes (over course of about 50 minutes)
Time to table: 50 minutes or 24 hours
Makes 5 cups

BEANS
3 quarts water
1 tablespoon table salt
8 ounces green beans, ends snapped, snapped or cut into one-inch pieces
8 ounces yellow beans, same

1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 a red onion, diced small
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring the water to a boil. [To be most efficient time-wise, prepare the liquid now, before continuing with the beans.] Add the salt and the beans, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender-crisp. While the beans cook, fill a large bowl with ice water, using more ice than water. When the beans are done, drain them in a colander, then plunge the colander into the ice water, fully covering the beans by swishing them around if needed. When the beans are cool, remove from the ice water. Give the colander a good shake to remove lots of the water. Let drain for at least 10 minutes and more if needed.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked green beans, onion and parsley. Pour liquid over vegetables and stir well to coat. Transfer to storage dish and refrigerate for 24 hours.

LIQUID
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (reduced from 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil (reduced from 1/2 cup canola oil)
1 teaspoon table salt
Several turns freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.


ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
BEST TIME TO SERVE? The inspiring recipe specifies serving the salad the next day -- and it's definitely more like a traditional (canned bean) three-bean salad that way, sort of pickly. I preferred it served right away though didn't object to it, in the least, the next day.

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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes with 800 quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

15 comments:

Sounds good. I think I'd like this when it's freshly made too. Another option would be to use agave nectar in place of the sugar which would make it low-glycemic but still use natural ingredients.

Your photograph of the Fresh Three-Bean Salad is gorgeous! And I agree with Kalyn - agave nectar would be fab in this recipe.

It is a very pretty dish. Agave nectar is from here and I've yet to have any. Maybe this weekend.

I am not a food snob but fresh is the only way that I can eat this salad. Yours looks fantasic Alanna.

This my husband eats every meal that he finds it in the fridge! I need to try it with the fresh beans! I know it would be wonderful, fresh just always is.

I found out that my much beloved Grandmother's 3 bean salad (which was made with canned veggies) came in at 440 calories a cup thanks to all the sugar and oil! I also discovered that I could cut both drastically and still have something that tasted exactly like what I remembered...pickly and delicious! However, I have a bunch of beans that I need to eat sitting in my kitchen so maybe Ill try something new and attempt your recipe as well:)

Yes, it is pretty. It must also taste so much better than the jarred kind. Just perfect for summer bbq.

Just browsing the internet, your blog is very, very interesting.

I saw some yellow beans in Wholefoods last week - they are not generally on sale in the UK. But this will be how I try them out. Thanks Alanna.
Love
Charlotte and Freddie

Alanna... it's Patty in Maine. I still love your blog! I am so getting the ingredients for this at the farmers' market tomorrow morning and eating it for lunch. YUM. Thanks.

Hi Alana,
It's Meg...funny that Patty just posted her comment. We are both on the same wavelength. I also liked your photo and recipe. I will use rice syrup in place of the sugar and probably a combination of lemon juice and rice vinegar in lace of regular vinegar, to "macrotize" this recipe. I'm glad that you kept the parsley in. And...I'll be with Patty at the farmers' market. I think I need to inquire about getting your tomato(farmers' market)icon too...Patty and I have lived there this summer! Thanks for a the great recipe ideas. Meg

Kalyn ~ Agave is another great option, know you love that stuff!

Karina ~ Thanks m'dear!

Kelly ~ (What's with all the K visitors today?!) Thanks. So many ideas, so few weekends, yes?!

Cynthia ~ 'Fresh' three-bean salad was new to me but I'll not be going 'back', for sure.

Tanna ~ Fresh beans make all the difference, in lots of ways.

Lyra ~ Thanks for visiting! Well, who says grammas (and mothers ...) knew everything?!

Susan ~ I love the yellow/green combination but it's not required except to 'paint' the plate.

Freddie ~ Thanks for visiting.

Charlotte & Freddie ~ Hello my fellow vegetable lovers! Yellow beans are pretty rare here, too, except from farms. I'm watching your 'mushroom' escapades very happily!

Patty & Meg ~ Hello you two, aren't you quite the pair! Have fun tomorrow, can't wait to see what you come up with. Meg, you are MOST welcome to use the farmers market logo, just follow the instructions.

I thought it interesting that we can find only yellow wax beans only at the farmers' market...hadn't thought about this, but it's true.

I'm reading a great book called, The Omnivores' Dilemnna, by Michael Pollen. Makes me think more about this.

On another note. I was at the farmers' market and was looking for the yellow beans. I remembered that the yellow beans I bought last year turned green after I cooked them!

I remembered to ask the farmer if this would happen to the beans I bought today (she said no). Should be a nice looking salad!

Hi Alanna! Thanks so much for submitting to our very first Root Source Challenge! Good luck, and I hope you'll keep submitting (pineapple and orzo coming up...)

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna