Make Ahead

Southern Three Bean Salad

May 27, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

This is a fresh take on an old-fashioned recipe. Three Bean Salad is traditionally made with canned beans - a mixture of canned wax, green, and kidney beans marinated in a sweet vinaigrette with sweet onions, and bell peppers. Here, fresh beans make a huge difference. Three Bean Salad is great dish for pot-lucks and picnics. - Waverly —Waverly

Test Kitchen Notes

Waverly offers a fresh-tasting bean salad, a welcome update from the traditional (canned) three bean salad. I don't care for green bell pepper, so I substituted an orange bell pepper. The sherry vinegar gives a nice depth of flavor to the vinaigrette that permeates the salad. Thumbs up! - Lizthechef —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups French green beans, washed, trimmed, and then blanched or steamed to crisp-tender (@ 3 minutes)
  • 2 cups wax beans, washed, trimmed, and then blanched or steamed to crisp -tender (@ 3 minutes)
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion like Texas 1015, Vidalia, or Walla, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine Vegetables: In a large serving bowl, combine green beans, wax beans, bell pepper, and onion.
  2. Make Vinaigrette: In a small mixing bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified/fully combined.
  3. Marinate the Beans: Pour the vinaigrette over the beans and toss until beans are coated. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Serve: Let the salad come to room temperature. Toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stone Ground Grits
    Stone Ground Grits
  • Waverly
  • Lizthechef
  • healthierkitchen
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.

8 Reviews

Stone G. June 29, 2014
Adding some fresh chopped dill really gives this recipe zing.
Waverly July 8, 2010
Good point, Captain Twist! I arbitrarily chose the name. The recipe is in the old River Road (Baton Rouge Junior League) cookbook as well as in Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose.... as well as in our old 1970s church cookbook (Texas). I took liberties with the name, but you are right. There is nothing that defines it as particularly Southern. I think rather that it just says old-fashioned-good-stuff. And it is....especially when you use fresh beans!
CaptainTwist July 7, 2010
I like this recipe, but I don't see what is especially "southern" about it; it's standard all over the midwest. My own recipe for this is nearly identical and was given to me by my grandmother, who got from her grandmother. It turns up regularly at church suppers, luncheons, and public meals of all sorts.
Lizthechef June 3, 2010
Looking forward to testing your recipe Saturday to serve with grilled steaks. If I can't find sherry vinegar at Whole Foods tomorrow (I'm out) could I substitute apple cider vinegar? Just remembered that Williams Sonoma always has a good house brand...
healthierkitchen May 28, 2010
I really wasn't sure if it was an error. Was curious if the vinegar pickles them. Looking forward to making this over the holiday weekend.
healthierkitchen June 3, 2010
Made this over the weekend and brought it to a barbecue where it was a big hit even though I accidentally added a can of pinto beans instead of kidneys. I will definitely make this again now that the green and yellow beans are really coming into season. thanks.
Waverly May 27, 2010
Thank you for pointing out my error. I have edited the recipe to include blanching/steaming the beans to crisp-tender. Crisp-tender beans taste much better than raw beans!
healthierkitchen May 27, 2010
saved and will try soon! Do you blanch the beans first?