Especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays, feasts in our home usually feature a number of different salads. The four bean salad is one that people usually love and it isn’t difficult to make.
This recipe is a little different in as much as it is similar to, but not the same as a regular three-bean salad. This recipe is an alteration of a three-bean salad that I used to make a long time ago at a restaurant, however, though it is naturally scaled down as compared to the amount I used to make. We routinely went through about 10-gallons of the three-bean salad at the restaurant, each day.
Four bean salad ingredients:
1 15-oz can cut green beans
1 15-oz can navy beans
1 15-oz can cut wax beans
1 15-oz can cooked kidney beans
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 green onions, finely sliced or one medium yellow onion in thin rings
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup wine vinegar or other quality vinegar (rice, wine, or apple vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (fresh ground is a plus)
1/2 teaspoon cracked mustard seeds (I use a mortar and pestle to crack the seeds, they should be cracked but not ground into powder)
Four bean salad instructions:
1. Drain the beans in a strainer or colander but do not rinse the beans.
2. Heat the vinegar, oil, sugar and spices in a small pot until the mixture is beginning to steam, but before it boils.
3. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl, including the drained beans, toss them together and then pour the hot vinegar and oil mixture over the top. Stir the mixture to coat the beans thoroughly.
4. Allow the three bean salad to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate into the beans. Serve cold.
If you want it to have a bit of a spicy bite, add some dried red chili peppers or a couple of jalapeno peppers.
Note: Some people prefer to add ground black pepper, chopped bell pepper, or garbanzo beans to their three-bean and four-bean salads. I usually don’t add any of these.
This is a bright and colorful dish, which gives it a festive appearance, and there is enough of a difference in the flavor of the four different kinds of beans that it has a great taste. The mixture of vinegar, oil, and sugar also gives it rather a sweet and sour tang. The four bean salad looks and tastes great.