Great picnic food: Five bean salad

Five bean salad 1

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

We’re on the verge of the beginning of summer fun season and a huge part of that fun is cookouts! I have fond memories of my mother bringing a bean salad that I loved. It was the perfect blend of sweet and sour and contained a bean we didn’t see to often in our house–the kidney bean–so it was exotic, too.

I didn’t know it at the time, but her bean salad was a perfect dish to bring to an event held in the summer sun. Because it didn’t contain any eggy ingredients–like mayonnaise–and featured the preserving superstars sugar and vinegar, it was not likely to kill me if it was eaten after exposure to the sweltering heat.

Because I have a deep and abiding love for beans, I made some alterations to her recipe and upped the legume quotient (her recipe merely used three types of beans). I also wanted to make this fibertastic side dish a bit healthier, so I decreased the amount of oil and sugar used in the dressing. I didn’t miss it. It was as delicious as I remembered.

With my five bean salad perfected, I’m ready for cookout season to begin! What signature dish do you bring to summer potlucks?

Five bean salad 2

Let’s get the party started! I’m getting hungry just looking at this.

Five bean salad

Makes about 12, 1-cup servings

1 can each of the following beans, drained and rinsed (I recommend using beans with no added salt):

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Black eyed peas
  • Green beans
  • Wax beans

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 sweet onion, diced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. canola oil

1/2 c. granulated sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and sugar. Set aside. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl and pour over vinegar mixture and stir gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.