What is a Three Bean Salad?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Three bean salads are marinated cold salads that are built around the use of three types of beans and complimented with a few other ingredients to create a colorful and delicious side dish. In most cases, the three bean salad recipe will call for the use of cut green beans, cut yellow beans, and dark red kidney beans as the basis for the salad. However, there are several notable variations that make use of other combinations of beans to great effect.

Garbanzo beans are often included in three bean salad.
Garbanzo beans are often included in three bean salad.

Along with the selection of three types of beans, most recipes for a three bean salad call for the use of green bell pepper and some type of onion. Often, it is recommended to make use of a Texas Sweet or a Vidalia onion, as the flavor of the onion is mild enough to enhance the taste of the beans without overpowering them. In addition, the recipe may call for using yellow or red bell peppers in place of or along with green bell pepper. Often, the choice of onions or peppers is dictated by the mixture of colors, with the onion and pepper selections providing additional shades or colors to compliment the choice of beans.

Kidney beans, which are often included in three bean salad.
Kidney beans, which are often included in three bean salad.

Since the three bean salad is marinated, it is necessary to use some medium for the process of marinating. A simple marinade composed of apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar combined with vegetable oil works very well. For additional taste, adding a small amount of sugar and finishing off the marinade with a dash of salt and pepper will produce an excellent coating that will enhance the overall taste of the dish.

Assorted beans, any of which could be used in a salad.
Assorted beans, any of which could be used in a salad.

When preparing a three bean salad, it is important to make sure the marinade covers all the beans and other ingredients. This will allow the flavors to all mix together into a taste that will be quite pleasing. While it is possible to serve a three bean salad at room temperature, many people prefer the salad to be chilled for a couple of hours before it is presented at the table.

Olive oil can be the base for a marinade for three bean salad.
Olive oil can be the base for a marinade for three bean salad.

It is also possible to prepare a three bean salad using several short cuts. A quick and easy recipe for the salad includes the use of garbanzo beans, dark red kidney beans and black beans. Slivers of purple onion and chopped green bell pepper are tossed with the beans. Instead of making a marinade from scratch, use bottled Italian dressing instead. This colorful and quick three bean salad can be prepared in minutes and chilled for a short time before serving.

Three bean salad recipes may include red bell pepper.
Three bean salad recipes may include red bell pepper.
Three bean salad usually features green and wax beans along with kidney beans.
Three bean salad usually features green and wax beans along with kidney beans.
A quick-to-prepare type of three-bean salad includes black beans, along with garbanzo and kidney beans.
A quick-to-prepare type of three-bean salad includes black beans, along with garbanzo and kidney beans.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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