Move over three bean salad. There’s a new kid on the block – Four Bean Salad. Tasty, colorful and easy, this summer delight is a perfect side dish at any pot luck, barbecue or simple grilled dinner. Plus, on the off-chance that there is any Four Bean Salad left over, it is a superb as a component in Salade Nicoise.
This salad was inspired by two of my favorite friends, MM & MK. We make a merry threesome and when we get together – with spouses or without – there will be good times, lots of laughter, copious amounts of wine and good – or maybe great – food.
With MK’s hubby grilling delicious chicken shish kebabs, MM providing a gorgeous and scrumptious tomato tart, and adorable mini-sweets for dessert, I knew I had to up my bean salad game. And so, this Four Bean Salad was created – to honor the proposition that just because you want to do yourself proud, doesn’t mean that you have to spend all afternoon in the kitchen.
There are 2 secrets to this bean salad:
- Use fresh green and wax (yellow) beans. They only take a few minutes to cook and are infinitely better than canned or frozen beans. Their color and taste take this salad to a level that grocery store deli versions can only dream of.
- Dress the salad while the green and wax beans are still warm. That way, the dressing soaks into them during the cooling time. As the dill and the mustard swathed in a simple vinaigrette work their magic on the beans, the whole thing comes together without you doing anything more than grabbing the bowl out of the refrigerator. Now doesn’t that sound like the right way to prepare for a summer meal?
If you’re wondering why I’m so fixated on fresh green and wax beans, but said nothing about the other two types of beans in the salad (black beans and garbanzos), it’s because my faithful taste tester and I determined that we could not tell the difference between dried beans and good quality canned. It is cheaper to use dried and there are easy methods to slow cook black beans and garbanzos, so don’t let me dissuade you if you want to take that extra step.
Easy Four Bean Salad
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (or unseasoned rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces (½ pound) fresh green beans
- 8 ounces (½ pound) fresh wax (yellow) beans
- 6 ounces (1 cup) canned black beans, well rinsed
- 6 ounces (1 cup) canned garbanzo beans, also known as chick peas, well rinsed
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup diced scallions (white and light green parts)
- Mix the oil, vinegar, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid or with a whisk or fork in a small bowl. Set aside
- Parboil or blanch the green and wax beans. After rinsing them in a colander add ice, so that they stop cooking even though they will remain warm for a while.
- Trim the ends of the green and wax beans, then and cut them into halves or thirds. Don’t you think that the diced red pepper provides a colorful contrast?
- Mix the green and wax beans, the black and garbanzo beans, the diced pepper and diced scallions. Shake the dressing up again and add about half of it to the beans. Refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper and/or more dressing according to your taste.
Save unused dressing for other purposes – it’s great on a salad that is tossed, served Nicoise-style, or chopped.