Bean Salad Got a Makeover…

Do you enjoy eating delicious and healthy stuff?  Do you like when things are fast and easy? Do you own a bowl?  Then this bean salad is for you!

Bean salad usually gets a bad rap, and for good reason.  I’ve never had bean salad from a salad bar that didn’t suck real bad.  Who wants to eat what is essentially sugary green beans? YUCK, not me.

Well this is different, I swear…there aren’t even any green beans up in this salad!  Still skeptical?  Well you’re just going to have to take a leap of bean salad faith and keep reading.

Here are the beans I used…

and here is the rundown (recipe)…

1 can – black beans (drained and rinse)
1 can – chick peas aka garbanzo beans aka the beans you make hummus with (drained and rinsed)
1 can – kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
6 oz. – frozen peas (about half a bag)
6 oz. – frozen corn (see above)
2 – green onions (chopped)
2/3 cup – balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp – sugar
drizzle – extra virgin olive oil 
salt and ground pepper to taste

I know what you’re all thinking…why doesn’t she call this 3 bean salad?  I mean there are 3 kinds of beans sitting there, it would only make sense.  I pondered this for a while but in the end I just couldn’t limit you guys to three kinds of beans…maybe you want to add some pinto beans, or navy beans, or some other really cool bean that I’ve never even heard of before.  Maybe you even want to add, dare I say it…green beans.  No judging here!

Some of you might also be wondering why all the brand confusion…I post as many brands as I can hoping that maybe, just maybe, that guy and his dog Duke will let me star in one of their baked beans commercials…I will never give out the family secret Mr. Bush!  Actually, I just happened to have these cans in my pantry.

I’m getting way off topic here, let’s get back to the salad.

So start by draining the beans in a strainer and rinsing them with water, I suggest rinsing one can at a time.

Have a big bowl handy to dump the beans in after they’ve been rinsed.  Then add some frozen corn and frozen peas, I used about half of each of these bags.  Everything else you add in this recipe is room temperature so these will thaw very fast just from mixing everything together.  If you feel the need to let these two sit out on the counter and thaw for a while that’s fine but you really don’t need to (I promise).  Definitely DO NOT follow the directions on the bag…please I beg you.

So just to document how fast you can throw this together, I paid attention to the clock.  I started making the bean salad at approximately 4:02 PM…at approximately 4:03 PM my toddler woke up from his nap and really wanted me to hold him, I would have said no thank you but I’ve tried that before (it doesn’t work).  So after he got his oxygen mask (pacifier) and finally succumbed to the magic hypnotic powers of Sesame Street, it was time to get back to the salad.   

Here is what your bowl should resemble now…

So far, this has taken me about 2 minutes (plus 20 minutes of toddler time).  It’s now approximately 4:44 PM and I am ready to finish this so I can eat it.  But then my 6 year old throws a basketball into the window (on accident) and shatters it…my nanny/photographer can corroborate this story.  So that was another time out (for me and my darling son).  I shut the door to the room with the shards of broken glass on the floor and kept truckin’.  I would have cleaned it up but my husband was going to be home any minute and I had no clue where he put that darn shop vac!

Now it’s time to add the stuff of legends…extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Look at that cute couple!  Now, there’s a few things to get figured out before we move forward.  First, not all balsamics are created equal.  The one I used today was pretty good but not very sweet.  I put the balsamic in the measuring cup and mixed in a tbsp of sugar before I dumped it on the beans, that little bit of sweetness makes a HUGE difference.  Now if I was using the balsamic I had found at the farmers market last year that had been aged for about 300 years I probably would not have added the sugar (it was heaven all on it’s own).  So just taste test what you have and be your own judge, you can do it!  With the olive oil, just make sure it’s extra virgin…or don’t.

Add the balsamic and EVOO (you can thank Rachel Ray for the acronym) and stir it all together.  Now add the chopped green onion and stir a little more.  At this point you should probably taste it…and then add salt and fresh ground black pepper to your liking.  Here it is in the big bowl…

And here it is in a small bowl…

I don’t know how to express to you all how much I love this bean salad.  I will make this and then keep it in the fridge all week…unlike humans, the longer this sits the better it gets.  If you’re hungry but want something good for you, this is a great snack that’s very satisfying.  I pair it with low fat cottage cheese but you can do whatever you want…maybe I need to rename my blog “The Do Whatever The Heck You Want Cooker”.

So there it is…bean salad, all made over.  She looks amazing, don’t you think?  She helps me look pretty good too because instead of eating potato chips when I’m hungry, I eat this…sometimes.

The Good Cooker

Photo Credit (and nanny credit): Ariel Slabach


One thought on “Bean Salad Got a Makeover…

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