6.24.2010

Culinary History 101: Five Bean Salad (and The Picnic Game!)

Did you ever play the picnic game as a child? Well, Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting a virtual Picnic. In order to participate in the Picnic Game, each blogger chooses a letter and brings a dish that begins with that letter. Would you like to play? Then contact Louise and join in the fun!  (Please note that I am leaving space to list the other picnic dishes as soon as they become available.)




I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing.....
A:
B:
C:
D:
E:



And my letter F: Five Bean Salad


Do you remember this one? It was standard picnic fare when I was a child. Every once in a while when I'm asked to bring a salad to feed a crowd, I turn to this old standby. With Mother's old recipe, you can take short cuts and use some canned veggies. And to keep things fresh, you can make nearly the entire thing with lovely crisp vegetables. I personally use canned kidney and garbanzo beans, but use fresh yellow and green beans, quickly steamed. I use frozen limas, but steam briefly and cool them. Sometimes I add a carrot, or radishes...odds and ends of whatever's left in the vegetable bin. You can also add other kinds of beans like black or cannellini beans, but I am posting Mother's original recipe, cans and all; tweak it any way you like. It all depends on how much of a hurry you're in.
Note: This has to be made a day ahead.

Mother's Five Bean Salad
Easily feeds 15 or more depending on portion size.


Ingredients:

1 can slender green beans (or fresh, steamed until crisp-tender)
1 can yellow wax beans (or fresh, steamed until crisp-tender)
1 can small lima beans (I use frozen, thawed and steamed briefly)
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup diced celery
sweet red onion rings to taste
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red pepper
2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup water
2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 clove garlic, split, remove before serving

Method:
Mix the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
Place all canned beans in a colander to drain the liquids and then place in large bowl. Add any fresh vegetables you have made, then add celery, onions and green pepper and cauliflower. Mix.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Push the split garlic down in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, stirring several times.

63 comments:

  1. Five bean salad is the PERFECT picnic recipe! I love beans...the more the merrier.

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  2. wow, that seems like a lot of vinegar! But I'm trusting you, I so want to make this! Thanks!

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  3. A funny game. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to participate. That slad looks very scrumptious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Boy Barbara you brought a smile to my face. I really remember the ole 5 bean salad. My mom & her mother use to make this a lot. Really a tried and true staple for a picnic.

    Thanks my friend & hope you weekend ahead has a picnic in store?!!

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  5. What a fun idea! I'll have to go read all about it!

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  6. I love this salad, Barbara. It looks so delicious. Plus, I like that it's an odds and ends salad like you said. Anything that will help with not wasting little bits of food is great in my book...
    I'll take a look at the contest over at Louise's too.

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  7. I think I'll now have a 5-bean recipe I'll actually use. LOVE the cauliflower in there!

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  8. Great salad. I am checking out the picnice game.

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  9. Wonderful Salad, Barbara! Perfect for our virtual Picnic Game and a "real" picnic too:) So many goodies, I too love the addition of cauliflower and sweet red onions.

    Thank you so much for bringing this on the Picnic. I only wish we could really devour it!!!

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  10. Sounds like a fun picnic :) I love your five bean salad! Have to give this one a try for sure!

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  11. Sounds like a fun picnic...and no bugs! The salad reminds me of my mom's! It looks so festive and perfect for picnics.

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  12. I was never much of a bean eater, but it looks attractive!

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  13. Barbara, what a lovely combination of beans. The game sounds like great fun.
    Sam

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  14. I've never had that salad, but I love beans!

    Isn't Louise fun? I just wish it was a real picnic instead of a virtual one!

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  15. I love the yellow wax beans in this salad. I don't see them that much in the market.

    xo

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  16. Barbara
    This is a classic American salad that I have had at potlucks before; however, I had no idea how to make it and what the dressing was made of; now you have enlightened me!

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  17. oh cool game, love this salad my Grandma makes something like this

    hope you find some black chick peas

    Rebecca

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  18. oh cool game, love this salad my Grandma makes something like this

    hope you find some black chick peas

    Rebecca

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  19. That game sounds fun! I like the fact that really this salad is a kind of 'leftover' salad cos you can use anything you've got in really. Have a good week Barbara x

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  20. what fun picnic game,
    love to see people going around and happy...
    Happy Thursday!

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  21. i feel cheated! i grew up eating only a three-bean salad, and now you're telling me that i could've been having five? :)

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  22. Barbara, this salad look amazing and yummy!! gloria

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  23. Lovely salad! I don't often make bean salad, but this sounds really good.

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  24. I think our mother's knew one another because she loved to make 3 bean salad for picnics... a fifties thing I think. It was so good with hotdogs... I sometimes put it on top of the dog with the mustard... to my mother's horror... half of it ended up on the ground but it tasted great!!! Thanks for the memory!!!

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  25. I adore bean salad...you know I will be saving this recipe for sure my friend. xoxoxoxo Have a great weekend. I love visiting you...I always go away with something yummy to look forward too.

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  26. Your salad looks wonderful, Barbara. Next time I make a bean salad I want to try yours. You are using more and different types of beans than I do in mine. This looks great. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  27. Yay, congratulations, Barbara! You 've done a wonderful job on this one. Perfect picnic recipe. I'm sure Louise going to jump with joy. haha... Hope you're having a great day!
    Cheers, Kristy

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  28. What a fun idea. I love that you are still making your mom's yummy recipe.

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  29. Thats so strange I used to play this game with my sister:
    "I'm going to ______ and I'm going to wear _______"... and then in our heads we would design dresses that we would wear to a ball and stuff :). I never heard a picnic version.
    Salads like these are great for a picnic. This one looks so pretty and healthy too. My favorite picnic dish to bring is tuna pasta salad.
    *kisses* HH

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  30. What a great summer recipe! I'm looking forward to bringing salads like these to work for lunch!

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  31. I've never heard of this game before...now I'm intrigued.

    You know how much I love my legumes. This salad fits right into my philosophy about food preparation.

    The recipe seems quite appetizing, however, I am a little concerned about the quantity of the vinegar!?! I guess I'll have to try it to understand it ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

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  32. I am prety sure if I made this my husband would propose again. He lOVES those ingredients... he would just adore this salad!

    Blessings-
    Amanda

    P.S. I am not sure if he really 'adores' anything, him being a manly man and all. Maybe he would kist like it and grunt a lot.
    I kid. :)

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  33. Agree-it's such a great picnic recipe and it's also healthy and good for you. What more could you ask for?

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  34. Barbara,
    I detested five bean salad when I was a kid. However not that I am of age, I won't say what age, I adore it! Something about those multitude of beans, onions and vinaigrette makes me happy. Comfort food I guess. Yours looks terrific. I love the idea of adding cauliflower.
    Well done!
    Pam

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  35. Yum, your mother made this salad just the way I like it. I always use red onion in my bean salad and add extra garbanzo beans because I like them best.

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  36. Barbara, this salad looks so healthy and refreshing. Perfect for a summer time picnic

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  37. WHat a great summer salad recipe!

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  38. The recipe I inherited was only three beans! The more beans the merrier, IMO :) I love them all!

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  39. Hi Barbara,

    What a fun game to play and a delicious 5 Bean salad recipe you have shared.
    I love bean salad and it is such a great thing to take to a picnic.
    It is more soups and stew weather here. I made a big pot of minestrone soup.

    I hope that you have a lovely weekend and great weather and maybe a picnic.
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  40. I love bean salad, and I miss this kind of picnic salad! Just the other day, I had to explain to someone what a macaroni salad is. The classics are slipping away!

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  41. Oh yummy!
    We do letter potlucks, they are a lot of fun. Its cool to see how creative people get.

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  42. A virtual picnic sounds like so much fun and this is really the perfect dish to bring! My mom loves five bean salad and your recipe looks incredible! I'm printing it out to share with her. ;)

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  43. What a lovely bean salad this surely is, dear Barbara!!


    Looks so tasty too!

    Many kisses from sunny & hot Brussels!

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  44. Barbara this is Dale's all time favorite salad anytime of the year. My mom makes it for every get together. I love it, but I have to go at it very carefully.hehe
    hugs

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  45. Once I had leftover bean salad and I threw it in the food processor and made a bean dip! It was great!

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  46. You have a wonderfully delicious and healthy combi for this picnic salad...so perfectly happy summer!!!

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  47. What a fantastic idea - while I won't be able to join, next time I have a picnic I'll definitely use this method to determine what people should bring.

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  48. YUM! I would LOVE eating this salad!

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  49. I love this version...especially lovin' the cauliflower in there for some reason. Sounds delicious. The perfect contribution to any picnic...be sure to save me a scoop ;)

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  50. Oh Barbara you have me thinking of my grandmothers and their wonderful bean salads. Its funny, I just had such a sweet dream last night of my Grandmother and now your post has me thinking of all the picnics we use to go on in Vermont when she would bring this salad. I'm going to make this one fro sure!!
    Happy Sunday
    xoxo

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  51. I hope you had a good weekend!

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  52. we always had bean salad out of a can when I was little and it never was as impressive and your mum's - though I would prefer fresh green beans too!

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  53. Oh we used to play the picnic game except we called it something else, I think it was "I'm going on a holiday, and I'm taking along....".

    That sounds like a perfect picnic salad, the vinegar and sugar almost make it like a fresh pickle doesn't it?

    Have fun on the picnic :)

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  54. Barbara, the five bean salad looks delicious, what a great combination, love the idea of adding celery for the crunchiness...so colorful, just perfect for a picnic...I look forward to try it ;-)

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  55. wonderfully simple and gorgeous.I absolutely love bean salads, they are so full of different flavours and textures!

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  56. This is still one of my favorite salads and sadly you don't see it much at potlucks.
    Mimi

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  57. I love these dishes Barbara - packed full of colour, texture and flavour - I am sure they shall be delicious! Lucie

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  58. How can you have a picnic without Five Bean Salad? Thanks for this great recipe! This picnic is going to be fabulous!

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  59. This looks like a great protein packed bean salad. I think everyone appreciates a recipe that is versatile with room for shortcuts when entertaining.

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  60. A meal in itself, but suitable for picnic fare for sure! :)

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  61. Hi Barbara! I just wanted to pop in and thank you once again for playing the picnic game. As expected, your Five Bean Salad was a huge hit!!! It's really been fun!!!

    Wishing you a Safe & Happy Independence Day!! Louise:)

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  62. What a fun idea! I might be brave and try this at my next potluck. Will be fun to see what folks end up bringing. ;)

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