Summer, Summer, Summer-tiiiime… And Three Bean Salad

One of my favorite things about summer (besides sangria and pool time, duh) is all of the fresh veggies and fruits at the farmers market.  Over the past three months I have pretty much gone vegetarian, only eating meat roughly once a week. In doing so I feel so much better inside and out.

People always panic when you tell them you are making the conscious effort to not eat meat. But how will you get enough protein?!  Iron?!  OMG you are going to DIE!!!!!  Funny, I plug all of my food into my handy My Fitness Pal app and I check every day and my nutrition information begs to differ! You want to know why? Legumes and greens and other nutritious foods that are tasty, cheaper, and healthier. Go figure!

A staple every summer in my kitchen is a three bean salad I had first tried about 15 years ago at my friend Kath’s outdoor party. It’s her mom’s recipe, but over the years I have tweaked it up for my taste.  I like to make a full batch, and use it as a side dish all week.  With all of the beans, it is a great source of… you guessed it… protein!  It’s light and tangy and perfect all summer long.

three bean saladThree Bean Salad

15 oz can wax beans
15 oz can garbanzo beans
27 oz can kidney beans
½ bunch cilantro finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 packets splenda (or ¼ cup sugar if you prefer)
1 green bell pepper chopped
4 green onions (including greens) finely chopped
4 celery stalks finely chopped

Drain and rinse the beans in a colender.  Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  Tastes best next day.  Keeps for 4-5 days.

Note: I use the reduced salt canned beans.  If you prefer to soak dry beans, go for it, but you may need to add a touch more salt to the salad. Conversely, if you use regular canned beans, you may want to omit the salt and add to taste!

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