I love three-bean salad — the kind we used to make in the Midwest as a picnic staple. Thing is, your typical three-bean salad recipe calls for about 3/4-cup of sugar — crazy! So I’ve been playing around with bean salads trying to get that same sweet/sour taste without the refined sugar. I think this one is pretty darn good. The sweetness comes from fresh corn, not sugar. Sunflower seeds add nuttiness and crunch.
Healthier 3-bean salad
1 pound fresh green beans
1 pound fresh wax beans
2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (get a brand with no sugar)
1 medium red onion, diced
Small bunch of cilantro, chopped coarsely
For the dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbls. minced garlic
De-stem the green and wax beans and snap each in half. Steam for three minutes on the stove-top or in the microwave. Shock with cold water and dump in a big bowl. Add the corn (no need to cook it), red onion, kidney beans and chopped cilantro.
In a small covered bowl or jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until emulsified. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and taste; add more if you like. Save extra for another salad.
This is one of those salads that tastes even better if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours, but it’s not required. Just before serving, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds (more if you want) and the chopped avocado.
Makes a side dish for eight