Three Bean Salad: antidote to winter, super convenient and less than $1.00 per serving!

The other day, I realized that I had a ton of canned beans. Very handy, considering that it gets SO cold in the tundra of Minnesota that you don’t always want to brave the outside. So, instead of trekking to the store, I looked for some bean recipes. I found a simple one for two-bean salad on, a Canadian publication, which I modified to suit what I had around:

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo beans ($.99);
  • 1 can of white northern beans ($.77);
  • 1 can of red kidney beans ($.77);
  • 1 cucumber ($.79);
  • 1 very small onion (.$26);
  • 1 clove of garlic (pennies);
  • apple cider vinegar (pennies);
  • sugar (pennies);
  • sea salt (pennies);
  • black pepper (pennies); and
  • olive oil (pennies).

We’re talking $3.60 plus maybe a dollar or so in flavorings, for a very filling dish. So, that’s less than five dollars for quite a bit of food. The red of the kidney beans actually is perky, cheery. The cucumber adds a much-appreciated freshness. The flavor only improves over the days. I’ve loved eating this for lunch, by itself. I have also totally adored eating it for dinner, on some toasted and buttered rye bread (buttered rye bread probably improves any meal, though). Perfect for a potluck too, because it’s low maintenance – it won’t spoil right away, and just needs refrigeration. It’s nice to eat chilled or at room temperature. Very easy!

June 18, 2008 Update: adding this photo of bean salad over spaghetti. Just because!

12 responses to “Three Bean Salad: antidote to winter, super convenient and less than $1.00 per serving!

  1. Nice. I’ll have to try this sometime. Thanks for your recipes and commentary. I hope to be able to put some of them to use. :))).

  2. I used above recipe to bring to pot luck but added mixed salad green for those who thinks green is the only thing for salad.
    It was so good that nothing was left.

    Thank you!

  3. What’s a good substitute for apple cider vinegar? I’m not sure we have that in Brazil.

  4. Hm…I haven’t tried this myself, but it might be worth experimenting with a white wine or red wine vinegar. Or maybe there is some other vinegar available made from some kind of fruit/veggie.I am guessing that the apple cider vinegar contributes tartness as well as some fruity body. Or, just try the cheapest vinegar you can find, and compensate with extra garlic and onion :-)!

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  8. This gets even easier if you have a package of Italian Dressing mix (powder). Just add that to taste to the vinegar, oil, sugar and ta-daaaa, instant flavor extras! I grew up with this “Italian” version and it’s still my favorite. I use four beans (green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans), and add celery instead of cucumber. I just happen to love it the way my mama made it (though I do sometimes use edamame – green soy beans – instead of garbanzos)!

  9. Sounds delish!!! what package do you use – any faves?


  10. Hi, Mei,

    Mom always bought Good Seasons, so I have, too! When I want it JUST like I remember from childhood, I want it that way and only that way, so I use the four beans and don’t substitute edamame. But sometimes, I like to play with the recipe a little.

    I use Stevia for sweetening instead of sugar as I’m Type 2 diabetic and stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar at all. Plus, it’s a natural sweetener and I’m not eating anything that’s not natural. It’s VERY sweet, so it doesn’t take much to sweeten things! I use the liquid mostly, and one drop is equal to approx. 2 teaspoons of sugar. There’s also powdered Stevia, sold in individual packets, and I think some tiny little “balls” in little containers, too. I don’t know about that as I always get the liquid (one bottle lasts an eternity, so though the price tag seems steep – $18 or so – it’s actually quite economical because you use so little).

    I don’t use garlic, salt or pepper as the dressing mix has all that. I just mix up some red wine vinegar, some oil (I’ve been using grapeseed for awhile now as it’s really good for us diabetics), some stevia and about 3/4 of a packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix and pour it on the beans, onion and celery. I think the cucucmber would be really good, but I just ran out and need to get some more. I use it alot in the juices I make; I’m addicted to my juicer and make 3-4 big servings a day, usually about 24 oz., I think…I never measure anything, so I don’t know! Luckily, cucumbers are a big part of the Mexican diet adn I live in Tucson, Arizona, where a lot of Mexican folks live, so the grocery stores that specialize in Mexican foods always have cukes really cheap, unlike the other grocery stores where they’re pricey. I eat them a lot, and love them in salads, like the cucumber & onion salad I make often (sliced up, marinated in vinegar, stevia and a mix of mayo and sour cream, though lately, I’m using a lot more yogurt than mayo and sour cream, and this salad is just as great with using only yogurt).

    I just made this today, as a matter of fact, and was just curious to see who else made it with what other things in it. I’m always about saving money, too, so this blog title caught my eye. I have a hard time waiting for this salad to sit for a few hours to “marry,” so sometimes I just have to go have a small bowl until it’s “ready.” I just did…it IS delish, yes!

    ~ Julie

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