Four Bean Salad

We’ve all made 3-Bean Salad in the past or at least seen it on salad bars.  It has the mild pickled taste that most people like and it is easy to throw together.  I first tasted this particular version of the salad when a friend brought it over and we shared a small dish with our lunch.  This salad has an extra bean and a little twist that gives it a unique taste.  I coudn’t put my finger on it until my friend sent me the recipe and I realized it was the toasted sesame oil.  This is now my new favorite bean salad.


1 15oz can of black beans

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans

1 15oz can of kidney beans

1 15oz can of green beans (I used a pint of my home canned)

1 small onion sliced thin (sweet or red)

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

Ok.  This is pretty simple.  Open the 4 cans of beans and drain.

Whisk together the sugar, oils and vinegars.

In a large bowl combine the beans and sliced onion.  Add the dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sample some, of course.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.  If you need a passing dish for a potluck or a simple side for a barbeque this salad is perfect and so easy to make.


My friend’s recipe included 1/2 tsp of tarragon.  I omitted it because it is not one of my favorite herbs.  But if it’s a favorite of yours, by all means add it.  James Beard, a very famous chef and cookbook author, is quoted as saying, “I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.”  That quote doesn’t make me like it any more.  Tarragon is one of the herbs considered essential in French cooking.  I used to think I was part French until I sent my DNA to     Perhaps my dislike of tarragon should have been my first clue that I’ve no French in my DNA. And I think this recipe is great without the tarragon.

NOTE:  You can change up your beans based on personal preference or what you have on hand.  I have a friend who dislikes kidney beans so she could substitute butter beans, cannalini beans or navy beans.

Mango and Red Bean Salsa


This is a quick and easy salsa to make and one that we enjoy with fish.  My father loved to fish. To him it was one of life’s greatest pleasures. He can tell you a lot of fish stories. We ate a lot of fresh water fish, never ocean fish, and we enjoyed our fish pan fried or occasionally made into fish soup. Friday nights were fish fry nights. But we would have never considered eating salsa with fish.  Especially not one made with mango.  I never tasted a mango until I was an adult. My dad would look at this salsa and say, “what is that?  I don’t think I’d care for that.”  But that’s okay. I think if you try it, you’ll like it.


2 ripe mangos

1 can small red beans or black beans

1/2 cup diced red onion

bunch of cilantro rough chopped

Juice of one lime (1/4 cup)

3 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Peel and dice the mangos. Dice red onion.  Drain and rinse the beans.


Rough chop the cilantro.


Put the beans, onion, mango and cilantro into a bowl and toss. Squeeze the lime, add the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.   Toss again.


Ready to serve.


We had the salsa tonight with grilled walleye and asparagus. It was a perfect dinner.


If you like things a little kicked up add a diced jalapeño pepper.  You can also serve this with corn chips.  Or with fish tacos.