This twist on a traditional three bean salad really moves the needle for flavor—double the beans, double the taste. For color, texture, and nutrients, I love adding green (string) beans to the mix—from long beans to slim French haricots verts, there are many fresh options available now. For the legumes in this recipe, canned beans are great for convenience—just rinse and drain them before adding them to your mixing bowl. If you want to prepare your own ingredients by using dried beans, you can soak and cook most of the varieties together. The exceptions to this strategy are the chickpeas (because they have a much shorter cooking time) and the black beans (because they could tint the white beans).
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and steamed
- 1 cup cooked gigante or cannellini beans
- 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup cooked lima beans
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, garlic, and pepper flakes. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt if desired. Set aside.
In a very large bowl, gently toss all the beans together and then pour on the vinaigrette. Toss again and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to help the flavors meld before refrigerating.
Yields 12 servings