How do you like to eat beans?
My PhD research is on beans, so this is one of my go-to conversation starters. In reply, I often hear chilis, soups, or stews. Although beans are undoubtedly delicious in these dishes, one of my favorite ways to enjoy beans is a simple bean salad. Bean salads come together quickly and you can enjoy them during any season. Piping hot chili – tasty as it may be – may not sound very appealing at a scorching summer BBQ, but bean salad is sure to hit the spot. Plus, bean salads make for the perfect combination of lighter summer fare that still leaves you feeling satisfied and full.
Bean Salad Recipes
Here are a few bean salad recipe ideas to get you started, but we encourage you to have fun substituting your favorite seasonal produce, using different types of beans, and making whatever other modifications suit your bean salad fancy. A helpful tip – make enough to have leftovers so you can take these salads for lunch the next day…and the day after that, too!
- Refreshing Three Bean Salad: Three bean salad is a classic. This version is very simple and bursting with summer flavors from the green beans, bell peppers, and herbs.
Summery White Bean Salad: Many people don’t feel like it’s truly summer until they’ve enjoyed a garden-fresh tomato. Tomatoes and white beans pair beautifully with the herbs, lemon juice, and capers in this easy salad.
- Chickpea Waldorf Salad: We shared this idea in our recent chickpea blog too, but if you haven’t had a chance to try this yet, we would highly recommend you whip up a batch for your next meal prep session, picnic, BBQ, or family gathering.
- Herby Bean Salad: The recipe linked here is for bean toast, but we often make the herby bean mixture and enjoy it as is, no bread needed! Chili flakes add a zing, and the beans make this creamy and filling.
When and Where to Enjoy Bean Salad?
Of course, the obvious answer to this question is: all the time and any place. However, here are a few ways to enjoy these protein- and fiber-packed salads and share them with others:
- Pack a lunch: Make your lunch extra tasty and healthy by bringing in a Mason jar full of bean salad. Yes, you are allowed to use other containers, too, even if they may not be as “hip.” Consider packing a Mason jar or lunchbox for friends, children, or significant others (after all, nothing says I love you like bean salad!).
- Make a BBQ side: BBQs can be one of the joys of summer. Baked beans often go hand-in-hand with BBQs, but consider spicing things up with a chilled, refreshing bean salad! Not only is it creative, but it allows you to add more produce to the meal and savor the flavors of the season with aromatic herbs and vegetables fresh from the garden.
- Have a picnic: Bean salads are easy to make and store well. Make them the day before your picnic and bring them in a cooler for everyone to enjoy as either a side or main dish.
What is your Favorite Bean Salad?
Please share comments and photos about your favorite ways to savor bean salads! We truly love to hear from you.