"Let’s get together for the 4th of July! We can all go snorkeling, then we’ll grill out on the top deck."
We were anchored next to our friends Martin and Robin, who were aboard their trawler The Cat’s Meow. Robin asked if I could bring a salad or vegetable. Sure!
We were in the Sea of Cortez, and temperatures were in the high 90s. I needed a dish that wouldn’t go bad in the heat and that I could make ahead of time, preferably without heating up our boat. Since it had been more than a week since I’d seen a supermarket, it had to be from what was still on hand. Sound familiar?
Three Bean Salad is perfect for times like this. It may not be a fancy dish, but it’s always a hit and I seldom go home with leftovers. Although I love fresh veggies, we enjoy anchoring out for extended periods even more, which means that great dishes from canned veggies are highly prized.
2 (15-ounce) cans cut green beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, navy beans or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup canned or frozen whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3/8 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the beans, corn and onion in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
Mix all other ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
Pour the dressing over the bean mixture, place the lid on the container and shake to mix. (Stir the mixture if the lid is not completely tight.) Refrigerate for one to three days to allow the beans to marinate, shaking or stirring periodically.
Drain excess dressing when transferring to a serving bowl and serve with a slotted spoon.
Add some chunked fresh tomatoes, cooked rice or pasta just before serving. These are good if extra people show up at the last minute and you need to stretch the salad.
Add one more can of beans for every two additional people (one can each for very large eaters). Vary the mix of bean types by what is available.
To make in a hurry, heat the dressing not quite to boiling and pour over the beans. Stir well and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, stirring or shaking every half hour.