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Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe

Fondly reminiscent of picnics and family gatherings, this old fashioned bean salad is a crowd-pleaser. Its vibrant colors and tangy-sweet dressing make it a delightful complement to many mains. Full of fiber and protein, it's not only tasty but healthy too.

Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe
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The recipe calls for green beans, yellow beans, red kidney beans, and lima beans. While the first three are commonly found in most supermarkets, lima beans might not be as readily available. They have a buttery flavor and creamy texture which adds a unique depth to the salad. If you can't find them, you can substitute with butter beans.

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Bean Salad

Green beans: Adds a bright color and crisp texture to the salad.

Yellow beans: Similar to green beans but have a slightly sweeter taste.

Red kidney beans: They are hearty and firm, adding a nice contrast to the other beans.

Lima beans: Known for their buttery flavor and creamy texture.

Green pepper: Adds a bit of crunch and a mild, slightly bitter flavor.

White onion: Lends a sharp and slightly sweet flavor.

Celery: Provides a refreshing and crunchy texture.

White vinegar: Gives the salad its tangy taste.

Vegetable oil: Used in the dressing, it binds the other ingredients and adds a smooth texture.

White sugar: Balances the tartness of the vinegar in the dressing.

Salt: Enhances the flavors of the salad.

Pepper: Adds a slight kick to the salad.

Celery seeds: Gives a slight hint of earthiness to the dressing.

One reader, Haslett Holt says:

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This old fashioned bean salad recipe is a game changer! The combination of beans and the tangy dressing is simply delicious. It's a perfect side dish for any meal and always a hit at gatherings. The flavors are so fresh and vibrant, it's become a staple in my recipe collection. Highly recommended!

Haslett Holt

Mastering the Art of Bean Salad Preparation

How to drain the beans: Drain the canned beans in a colander and rinse them under cold water to remove excess sodium and starch.

How to make the dressing: In a small saucepan, combine the white vinegar, vegetable oil, white sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seeds. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the dressing is hot.

How To Make Old Fashioned Bean Salad

Put together a quick side with this bean salad recipe, with four kinds of beans and onions dressed in a sweet vinaigrette made with a dash of celery seeds.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 3 minutes
Total: 8 minutes



  • 14ozgreen beans
  • 14ozyellow beans
  • 14ozred kidney beans
  • 14ozlima beans
  • ½cupgreen pepper,thinly sliced
  • ¾cupwhite onion,thinly sliced
  • ¾cupcelery,chopped

For Dressing:

  • ½cupwhite vinegar
  • ½cupvegetable oil
  • cupwhite sugar
  • 1tspsalt
  • ½tsppepper
  • 1tspcelery seeds


  1. Drain all of the beans well. Combine beans, green pepper, celery, and onion in a bowl.

  2. Heat all dressing ingredients in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot.

  3. Pour the hot dressing mixture over the beans and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight.


  • Calories: 303.84kcal
  • Fat: 10.16g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.77g
  • Trans Fat: 0.07g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.80g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.00g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.27g
  • Fiber: 9.09g
  • Sugar: 14.01g
  • Protein: 11.17g
  • Sodium: 210.61mg
  • Calcium: 72.92mg
  • Potassium: 789.13mg
  • Iron: 4.09mg
  • Vitamin A: 19.08µg
  • Vitamin C: 24.61mg

Elevate Your Bean Salad Game with This Simple Tip

When preparing your old fashioned bean salad, it's important to remember that the longer the salad sits, the better the flavors will meld together. This is why it's recommended to refrigerate it overnight. However, if you're short on time, a minimum of two hours should suffice. Additionally, using fresh, crisp vegetables will give your salad a satisfying crunch, contrasting nicely with the softness of the beans. Lastly, when heating your dressing ingredients, ensure the sugar is fully dissolved to avoid a grainy texture in your salad.

Streamline Your Bean Salad Prep

Prepare the ingredients: Gather and prepare all the beans, vegetables, and dressing ingredients before starting the recipe to streamline the cooking process.

Use canned beans: To save time, consider using canned beans instead of fresh ones, as they are already cooked and ready to use in the salad.

Chop in advance: Pre-chop the green pepper, onion, and celery ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use, cutting down on prep time when assembling the salad.

Make extra: Consider making a larger batch of the bean salad and storing it in the refrigerator for a few days, saving time on meal preparation throughout the week.

Multi-task: While the dressing is heating, use that time to drain and combine the beans and vegetables, maximizing efficiency in the kitchen.

Substitute Ingredients For Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe

  • green beans - Substitute with wax beans: Wax beans have a similar texture and mild flavor, making them a suitable replacement for green beans in the salad.

  • yellow beans - Substitute with green beans: If you can't find yellow beans, green beans can be used as a substitute for their similar texture and taste.

  • red kidney beans - Substitute with black beans: Black beans can be used as a substitute for red kidney beans, providing a different color and a slightly different flavor profile.

  • lima beans - Substitute with cannellini beans: Cannellini beans can be used as a substitute for lima beans, offering a creamy texture and mild flavor.

  • green pepper - Substitute with red bell pepper: Red bell pepper can be used as a substitute for green pepper, adding a slightly sweeter flavor and vibrant color to the salad.

  • white onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onion can be used as a substitute for white onion, providing a similar pungent flavor and texture.

  • celery - Substitute with fennel: Fennel can be used as a substitute for celery, offering a crunchy texture and a hint of licorice flavor to the salad.

  • white vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for white vinegar, providing a slightly fruity and mellow flavor to the dressing.

  • vegetable oil - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a substitute for vegetable oil, adding a rich and fruity flavor to the dressing.

  • white sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a substitute for white sugar, offering a natural sweetness and a hint of floral flavor to the dressing.

  • salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for regular salt, providing a slightly different mineral flavor to the salad.

  • pepper - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can be used as a substitute for black pepper, adding a spicy kick to the salad.

  • celery seeds - Substitute with dill seeds: Dill seeds can be used as a substitute for celery seeds, providing a similar aromatic and slightly citrusy flavor to the dressing.

Elevate Your Bean Salad Presentation

  1. Elevate the bean salad with a stunning plating: Create a visually appealing presentation by arranging the colorful beans in a geometric pattern on the plate, using the green pepper, celery, and onion to add pops of color and texture.

  2. Incorporate a touch of elegance with edible flowers: Garnish the bean salad with delicate, edible flowers such as nasturtiums or pansies to add a touch of sophistication and a subtle floral note to the dish.

  3. Enhance the visual appeal with a drizzle of balsamic reduction: Create an artistic drizzle of balsamic reduction on the plate to add a touch of richness and depth to the presentation, elevating the overall aesthetic.

  4. Utilize a minimalist plating approach: Embrace a minimalist plating style by arranging the bean salad in a clean, simple manner, allowing the vibrant colors and textures of the ingredients to take center stage.

  5. Incorporate a touch of whimsy with microgreens: Sprinkle a delicate scattering of microgreens over the bean salad to add a fresh, vibrant element and a subtle hint of earthy flavor.

  6. Add a touch of sophistication with a sprinkle of edible gold leaf: For an opulent touch, delicately place edible gold leaf on the bean salad, adding a luxurious shimmer and a hint of extravagance to the dish.

Essential Tools for Crafting the Perfect Bean Salad

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting, slicing, and chopping ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile knife used for a variety of kitchen tasks, such as chopping, slicing, and dicing.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients and mixing them together.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending, whipping, and beating ingredients.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle, used for heating and cooking sauces, soups, and other liquids.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Used for accurately measuring ingredients for recipes.
  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with perforated holes used for draining liquids from food.
  • Can opener: A tool used for opening cans and tins.
  • Vegetable peeler: A kitchen tool used for peeling the outer skin of vegetables and fruits.
  • Tongs: A utensil with two arms and a pivot used for gripping and lifting items.
  • Grater: A tool used for grating or shredding ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, or chocolate.
  • Salad spinner: A kitchen tool used to wash and remove excess water from salad greens and other vegetables.
  • Storage containers: Used for storing and preserving prepared ingredients or leftovers.

Preserving the Freshness of Your Bean Salad

  • This bean salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors will meld and improve over time, making it a great make-ahead dish for potlucks, picnics, or meal prep.

  • If you want to freeze the salad, it's best to do so before adding the dressing. Place the mixed beans, green pepper, celery, and onion in a freezer-safe container, leaving some room for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months.

  • When ready to serve the frozen salad, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Drain any excess liquid and toss the salad with the freshly prepared dressing as directed in the recipe.

  • If you have leftover salad that has already been dressed, you can still freeze it, but the texture of the vegetables may change slightly upon thawing. The salad will still be safe to eat but may not be as crisp as freshly made.

  • To maintain the best texture and flavor, consume the thawed and dressed salad within 2-3 days of thawing.

Reviving Leftover Bean Salad

  • Reheat the old fashioned bean salad in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, stirring halfway through, until it reaches your desired temperature. This method is quick and easy, but may cause the vegetables to become slightly softer.

  • For a crunchier texture, reheat the bean salad in a skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the pan and stir the salad occasionally until it's heated through, about 3-5 minutes. This method helps to maintain the texture of the beans and vegetables.

  • If you prefer a cold bean salad, simply remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to develop and the salad to reach a more palatable temperature.

  • For a tangy twist, add a splash of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the bean salad before reheating. This will brighten up the flavors and add a fresh taste to the leftover salad.

  • If the bean salad seems dry after being stored in the refrigerator, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil or the original dressing before reheating. This will help to moisten the salad and restore its original texture.

Surprising Trivia About Old Fashioned Bean Salad

Old fashioned bean salad is a versatile dish that can be customized with different types of beans and vegetables. It's a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, making it a healthy addition to any meal. The combination of vinegar, oil, and sugar in the dressing gives the salad a sweet and tangy flavor. This salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a side dish for a barbecue. It can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, allowing the flavors to meld together for a delicious result. Enjoy this nutritious and delicious salad as a part of a balanced diet.

Bean Salad: A Budget-Friendly Delight

This old fashioned bean salad recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The combination of green beans, yellow beans, red kidney beans, and lima beans offers a nutritious and budget-friendly option. The dressing ingredients like white vinegar, vegetable oil, and celery seeds are also economical. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10. This recipe earns a solid 8/10 for its affordability and wholesome ingredients.

Is This Classic Bean Salad Healthy?

The old fashioned bean salad recipe is a nutritious dish that offers a variety of healthy ingredients. The combination of green beans, yellow beans, red kidney beans, and lima beans provides a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The addition of green pepper, onion, and celery adds flavor and extra nutrients to the salad.

However, the dressing for this salad raises some concerns. The use of white sugar and a significant amount of vegetable oil can make the dish less healthy. The high sugar content can lead to increased calorie intake and potential blood sugar spikes, while the excessive oil can add unnecessary fat to the diet.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the dressing or replace it with a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • Use a healthier oil, such as olive oil, instead of vegetable oil
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables in the salad to boost its nutrient content
  • Add some fresh herbs, like parsley or basil, to enhance the flavor without relying on salt
  • Include a lean protein source, such as grilled chicken or tofu, to make the salad a complete meal
  • Experiment with different types of vinegar, like apple cider or balsamic, to add variety and potential health benefits

By making these adjustments, you can transform this old fashioned bean salad into a more nutritious and well-rounded dish that still retains its classic charm and flavor.

Our Editor's Take on This Timeless Bean Salad

This old fashioned bean salad recipe is a classic and versatile dish that offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The combination of green beans, yellow beans, red kidney beans, and lima beans provides a colorful and nutritious base, while the addition of green pepper, white onion, and celery adds a refreshing crunch. The tangy and slightly sweet dressing, infused with celery seeds, complements the beans perfectly, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. This salad is a wonderful addition to any summer gathering or potluck, and its make-ahead nature allows for easy entertaining. Enjoy!

Enhance Your Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with garlic and chives
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Juicy grilled corn on the cob with a smoky chipotle butter
Fruit Salad: Refreshing fruit salad with a honey-lime dressing
Chocolate Brownies: Decadent chocolate brownies with a gooey caramel center

Discover Delightful Alternatives to Classic Bean Salad

Savory Stuffed Bell Peppers: A delicious combination of ground beef, rice, and seasonings stuffed into colorful bell peppers and baked to perfection.
Creamy Chicken Alfredo: Tender chicken breast and fettuccine pasta smothered in a rich and creamy Alfredo sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
Refreshing Watermelon Salad: Juicy watermelon cubes tossed with feta cheese, mint, and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing and light summer salad option.

Why trust this Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe:

This recipe is a classic bean salad that has been enjoyed for generations. The combination of green beans, yellow beans, red kidney beans, and lima beans provides a variety of textures and flavors. The addition of green pepper, white onion, and celery adds a refreshing crunch. The dressing, made with white vinegar, vegetable oil, white sugar, and a blend of spices, perfectly complements the beans. This recipe has stood the test of time and is a trusted favorite for gatherings and potlucks.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this Old Fashioned Bean Salad Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
Can I use canned beans for this recipe?
Yes, you can use canned beans for this recipe. Just make sure to drain and rinse them well before using.
Can I substitute the white sugar with a different sweetener?
Absolutely! You can substitute the white sugar with honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener of your choice. Adjust the quantity to taste.
How long can I store the bean salad in the refrigerator?
You can store the bean salad in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Just make sure to keep it covered to maintain its freshness.
Can I add other vegetables to the salad?
Of course! Feel free to customize the salad by adding other vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, or even some fresh herbs for extra flavor.
Can I make the dressing ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the dressing ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just give it a good shake before pouring it over the salad.

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