This bean salad is ready to go places – The Denver Post

By Melissa Clark, The New York Times

Every picnic needs a salad that can withstand some abuse: one that can be stuffed into your backpack without fear it will squish; left out in the sun without spoiling or wilting; made a day or two before serving, only to get better as it sits.

A three-bean salad is all of that, and more. And its sturdiness, coupled with how quick and easy it is to throw together, may be why it’s become such a summertime staple across the United States.

For me, though, the biggest draw of a three-bean salad is its adaptable nature. (I just adore a recipe that I don’t have to stick to.) As long as there are three different beans in the bowl tossed with some kind of flavorful dressing, a three-bean salad can be anything you want it to be.

What I want it to be is fresher, brighter and herbier than the most classic versions, which rely entirely on canned beans — green beans, wax beans and kidney beans. When I make three-bean salad, I don’t use any of them. I also nix the usual sugary dressing.