Garlicky 3 Bean Salad

Sometimes we want a dish that is just like we had as a child.  Aunt so and so’s fried chicken, mom’s famous dip, a neighbor’s lasagna.  The tricky part is that our tastes change over time as do cooking styles.  We really cannot recreate that moment from the past.

Three bean salad is one of those classic side dishes that draw real preferences.  But, I don’t even remembering having it as a child.  Just a few years back I started using fresh blue lake beans in the standard salad (yum, crispy and fresh) with the sweetened oil and vinegar dressing.  To most people, this is the familiar flavor.  It just felt weird to me.  Sugar on green beans?  Really?  So, here’s my newest, favoritest version of 3 bean salad.  Enjoy!

Blue lake beans from Smith Family Farms, garlic and onion from Chan’s berry stand

Three Bean Salad

loosely based on the Three Bean Salad from Bon Appetite, 1998


2 or 3 handfuls of blue lake beans

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

1/4 red onion, sliced

3 TBS red wine vinegar

3 TBS olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper


1.  Rinse the green beans, cut into 2 inch segments, and add to boiling water for 1 minute.  Rinse the green beans with cold water in a colander to stop the cooking process and drain well.

2.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar and olive oil.  Add the garlic, dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the green beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and sliced red onion.  Mix to coat the vegetables with the dressing.

3.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.


  • In high school, the mom of someone in our youth group really would make home made lasagna for us at events.  This was some seriously spectacular lasagna!  I had no idea in the world what all was involved until I made my own years later.  She surely must have loved us to make lasagna for us so many times!  (Thanks again, Pat.)
  • I’ve learned to like fresh blue lake beans, and have come to crave kidney beans, but those garbanzos are in there just for color and texture.
  • If you can let this soak for a few hours, the onions start to pickle and get quite tasty!

One response to “Garlicky 3 Bean Salad

  1. this IS a classic. we always use green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans, but i might toss in some chickpeas next time. great post. 🙂

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