No summer is complete without a good bean salad. It’s actually one of the first things I learned to make when I ventured out on my own after college. Sonja’s bean salad showed up at several cookouts in that era, religiously prepared each time by meticulously following the magical measurements scribbled down on a post-it note after calling home to my mom to get the recipe.
Things have changed a bit since then, and I’ve realized salads are more of an art than a science. I’ve learned that you can add your own quantities olive oil and vinegar, and then taste and adjust. You don’t have to put in that white sugar unless you want a sweet twist, and you can put in less than the recipe calls for (or substitute honey). You can add aromatics like onion or garlic for some oomph. And you can put in whatever beans you want (not just the ones the recipe says). Or grains for that matter. Or other veggies.
Basically, the sky’s the limit. But simplicity is also key. This bean salad is just one of a plethora of takes on the familiar theme, but we particularly enjoyed it for its simple, fresh flavors. We purposely left out vinegar (almost a sin in this household!) to bring out the simplicity of the garlic and dill, which worked well and made for a savory meld of flavors. Of course, feel free to adjust to your own taste preferences, and add acidity or sweetness to your liking!
What’s your favorite bean salad variation?
Thanks to Judy for the delicious inspiration!
- 1 white onion
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (1½ cups cooked)
- 15-ounce can kidney beans (1½ cups cooked)
- 15-ounce can black beans (1½ cups cooked)
- 2 tablespoons dried dill
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Finely chop the onion and celery stalks. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Drain the beans and rinse them under cool water.
- In an airtight container, mix beans, celery, onion, and garlic with 2 tablespoons dried dill, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.