I made this 3 bean salad for our July 4th barbecue and it was the perfect summer side dish!
We were planning a traditional barbecue complete with barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches, corn on the cob, and a red white and blue themed dessert when my close friend called and said she had decided to become a vegan. It was the day before our barbecue, so I had to think fast. She told me not to worry about her, but that wasn’t going to happen. First of all, she’s awesome and I love her and her beautiful family. Second of all, as a gluten free family we know all too well what it’s like to go to a social gathering and not be able to eat, though that never happens at her home, so I wanted to make sure she felt welcome.
I knew this was going to be a recipe created through experimenting and I really hoped it would come out well. My criteria was that it be filling and flavorful, and my immediate thought was beans. I checked our pantry and we had black beans, pinto beans (my favorite), and garbanzo beans. Garbanzo beans might seem like an odd choice, but my husband thinks that they make everything taste better so I decided to throw them in as well. That was the start of our 3 bean salad. Next we added fresh cherry tomatoes, bell pepper and cilantro. Then we added some olive oil and mixed it up, but when I tasted it the salad was way too bland.
It lacked the flavor I was going for, so we added some salt and lime juice and that gave it a great burst of flavor. The citrus added a tanginess to the salad, and to add some sweetness I cut the corn off of one of the ears of cooked corn and mixed it in to give it a more interesting flavor balance. Then I placed it in the fridge to stay cool alongside 3 unopened avocados. I love adding avocado to recipes whenever possible because they’re such a tasty superfood, but I didn’t want them to brown in the refrigerator. Letting them cool off in their skin meant that they would fit in well with the salad later, and I chopped them up right before it was time to serve it so that they were nice and green.
I have to say, I was a bit nervous when I served it, but she really enjoyed it and so did the meat eating guests. What I liked most about it was how light and cool it was on a hot summer day. I thought it was a great balance to the hot meal, and I also think it stands alone as a great summer salad or side dish.
Since it passed our July 4th barbecue test, I’m sharing it with all of you.
3 Bean Salad
- 15 oz can of pinto beans
- 15 oz can of black beans
- 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 ear of corn
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 limes
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Drain and rinse the beans and add them to a bowl. Set aside.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl.
- Dice the red pepper and cut the corn off of one cooked ear of corn and add both to the bowl.
- Add the cilantro and mix it all together.
- Add the olive oil and juice from 3 limes and mix it up.
- Add salt and pepper to taste until you get the desired flavor.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
- Place the ripe avocado in the refrigerator as well so that it's chilled.
- Prior to serving, chop the avocado and add it to the salad.
- Mix it all together once more and serve.