The Seasoned Franciscan - Cooking Joyfully

Three Bean Salad and Gratitude

By Vicki Lopez-Kaley, adapted from Joy of Cooking on Monday, June 10th 2024

Ingredients for the Salad:
Combine in a large bowl:
2 C cooked kidney beans, homemade or canned and rinsed
1 C cooked garbanzo beans, homemade or canned and rinsed  (Save the rest for hummus!)
2 C ½ inch pieces blanched green and/or yellow wax beans   (See below for blanching instructions)
½ C chopped green pepper (optional)
½ C chopped onion (Red onion is my family favorite!)

Sweet and Sour Dressing:
Whisk together in a small bowl:
½ C red wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
1/3 C sugar
¾ tsp minced fresh dill weed or ¼ tsp dried  (You can substitute tarragon, if using tarragon vinegar)
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
In a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly:
1/3 C olive oil or vegetable oil
For more tartness, add a T of lemon juice to your taste

To blanch green or yellow beans, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Set a bowl of ice water nearby.  Drop the beans into the boiling water, and cook for 2 minutes, or until they’re crisp-tender and bright green. Transfer them to the ice water, then drain and transfer to a kitchen towel to dry.  Instructions come from Love and Lemons who also provided the photo above.

The salad recipe from Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker's Joy of Cooking is great for a buffet, for a side dish when grilling or on a green salad.  It stays fresh in the fridge for several days and I believe the flavor gets better.

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Seasonal transitions (like the one between planting and first fruits) take time.  And so, seasonal eaters wait.  These days I’m waiting until local green beans are ripe and just tender to make Three Bean Salad.  It’s great for a buffet, for a side dish to serve when grilling or on a green salad.  No more dressing needed!  

When beans and our other favorite seasonal foods arrive, we taste and offer gratitude.  See the prayer below from Joan Boryshenko paraphrasing our Buddhist brother Thich Nhat Hahn and his mindful grace before meals.  The spiritual practice of gratitude is one of the Healing Secrets of Food. 

Before my Aunty and Godmother had her babies, she planted a huge summer vegetable garden.  My cousin and I often visited her township home during school vacation.  Because we loved her, we helped, picking green and yellow (wax) beans from long low rows behind her house.  I didn’t even like beans as a child, but it was fun to tackle this chore together.  Later, we joined in as the women of the family took our harvest and filled the kitchen with the sounds and smells of canning.  I am forever grateful for those memories! 

As my taste buds matured, I began to enjoy fresh green and wax beans and add them (with garbanzo and kidney beans) to this salad, to minestrone soup, to red or brown stew, with fish or  seasoned with soy, garlic and Asian spices.  

What is your favorite way to enjoy green or yellow beans?  legumes like kidney and garbanzo beans? Share a seasonal produce memory or a recipe.  Wait in joyful anticipation for spring and summer lettuces, blackberries, raspberries, garlic, bok choi, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and more!  To learn more about what produce is in season, visit the nearest farmer's market or click here for a handy chart from SNAP education and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture!

Prayer of Mindful Gratitude
Are you eating green beans for supper?
Think of the people who plowed the fields and planted the seeds.
Think of the wind and rain, the sun and the moon whose energies brought forth the beans from the seeds.
Think of the people who harvested the beans, who shipped the beans and drove the delivery truck.
Think of the people who unloaded the beans and displayed them in the store
Think of the person who bought the beans, who cooked them and brought them to the table.
Think of the Great Mystery of Life, the Creator, from which this entire drama sprang forth.
Pray in gratitude for them all.

By Thich Nhat Hahn, paraphrased by Joan Boryshenko, PhD. in A Pocketful of Miracles: Prayers, Meditations, and Affirmations to Nurture Your Spirit Every Day of the Year

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