Retro Bean Salad

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Bean Salad 2

There are endless recipes for bean salads, but I have always preferred the old-fashioned ones that are a little heavy on the vinegar side and contain wax and kidney beans.  This recipe is a retro bean salad from the ’60’s that fit the bill.  I liked the addition of zucchini slices too.  However, it was surprising how difficult it was to find wax beans.  At one store I asked a worker about it in case my eye was missing them on the shelf.  She didn’t even know what they were!  I checked two more places and they weren’t carried there either.  I finally found them at my favorite grocery store that I talk about here often, Woodman’s in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not far over the border from me in Illinois.  Woodman’s has everything.

I have memories of bean salads on tables at church suppers, picnics, and my mom’s own recipe.  Hers didn’t contain zucchini but tastes a lot like this one.

Bean Salad 3

Bean salads look so colorful, taste great, are full of fiber, and can last for days in the refrigerator.  They look very appealing served in colorful dishes alongside picnic fare, a baked ham, or they can even be a meal in themselves.  This salad would be good to take along for an upcoming Memorial Day gathering.  Just be sure and let the salad marinate at least a few hours and serve it nice and cold.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Retro Bean Salad
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 small to medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) wax beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  1. In a large container or bowl with a lid, whisk together vinegar, oil, water, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper until sugar dissolves and mixture is well-blended.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and gently mix together until well-coated.
  3. Cover with lid and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, use a slotted spoon as there will be excess liquid.



4 Responses to Retro Bean Salad

  1. May 16, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Yum, I’ve always loved Three Bean Salad (as every variation is titled up here in the northland ) I have to hunt around for the wax beans, too … and when I find them, I always buy lots of extra cans.

    • May 17, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      Patrice, I stock up when I find them too. So weird how they are out-of-fashion now! Isn’t it funny how even if the salad has 6 kinds of beans, everyone still calls it 3-bean salad?

  2. May 16, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    3-Bean salad brings back summer memories of community, church and family picnics. Always a favorite! I like your recipe with the added zucchini. Sounds like a terrific addition to a classic summer salad. This last winter I made minestrone soup and had trouble finding the wax beans, also. They might end up only at our cooking specialty shops!! Who would have thought!?!

    • May 17, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

      Bean salads remind me of all those events too, Kim. Isn’t it so strange how wax beans are so hard to find?

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