Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3-Bean Salad

3-Bean Salad
Dorcas Annette Walker

Springtime always turns my mind towards salads. Here is an old fashion Mennonite vegetable salad that can be made year round and is perfect for warm spring days when you are busy outdoors. While I wait impatiently for the weather to warm up enough to start planting, I keep occupied with my vigorous indoor garden that has outgrown my dining room table pinching back my lima beans that are over two feet tall and clambering up the backs of my chairs. My peas have outgrown the wooden stakes and are curling around the squash plants that in turn trail over into my tomatoes. I plan to start giving them a taste of some real sunshine during a warm sunny day soon. Meanwhile I find myself walking around outside checking to see the latest flowers that have popped up out of the earth to reassure me that spring is near.

Salads have been around since ancient times, but here in United States salads were not used regularly until the 1960’s when cold salads needing little refrigeration became popular for picnics and outings. During the J. Edgar Hoover era the bean salad was known as his favorite dish. The first half of the twentieth century garden salads were usually made of lettuce switching over to fruits in the winter season. Dressings were either oil and vinegar or mayonnaise sometimes with a sour cream base. Soon using other garden vegetables in salad became all the rage. Beans add fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, and iron to the diet.

My 3-Bean Salad is quick and easy to make as well as being an ideal and economical dish to use when feeding a crowd. Not only does the 3-Bean Salad give you a fresh summer taste, add color to the menu, but it is very nutritious as well. You can include other kinds of cooked beans such as limas or black beans, sprouts, carrots, broccoli, or sliced radishes to add a unique twist to your bean salad. You can also substitute the oil and vinegar dressing with mayonnaise if you prefer. Preparation time for my 3-Bean Salad is fifteen minutes and this recipe serves eight.

3-Bean Salad

1 (15 oz) can of cut green beans
1 (15 oz) can of cut wax beans
1 (15 oz) can of red kidney beans
1 small onion
½ c cooking oil
½ c sugar
1/3 c vinegar
1 tsp salt

Drain beans, mince up part of the onion, and place together in a serving bowl. Mix together the oil, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Pour over the beans and stir until well coated. Chill overnight and stir before serving. Garnish with onion rings!

Weekly tip: Beans are classified into two basic categories: pod and shell with a peak season from May until October. Fresh beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days. If you want sweet-tasting and crisp fresh beans cut them as little as possible!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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