I Keep a Big Bowl of This Five-Bean Salad in My Fridge All Summer Long

It’s the no-frills fix for summer lunches and easy dinners.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for a bean salad. Whether we're talking three beans, four beans, or eight beans, the humble dish has a certain nostalgic factor for me. It was a summertime fixture on my grandparent's supper table, then my parents', and now my own. The version my grandmother served was no-frills but delicious. I haven't attempted to recreate that magic—though, rumor has it, the bean salad in question was in fact store-bought from a jar—but my mom somehow managed to find a recipe that comes daringly close. The Neelys of Food Network fame developed a Five Bean Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette that has become our family favorite over the past decade and a permanent resident in my fridge all summer long.

At this point, the Neely's Bean Salad (as we lovingly refer to it) has become an honorary member of the family. It has taken us through engagement parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and more. It's our go-to for grilling out and our must-have for quick weekday lunches (served with a scoop of hummus, please). And there's not a person who has entered any one of homes, whether mine, Mom's, or my sisters', and been served a helping without leaving with the recipe at their request. The secret? My vote goes for the dressing, Mom would say the herbs, my sisters might say the throw-it-in-a-bowl-and-go approach. Quite frankly, it's all top-notch stuff.

The Champagne Vinaigrette calls for ingredients that you likely already have on-hand. I throw them all into a Mason jar and shake it up. Easy peasy. Now this dressing is also another refrigerator staple, bean salad or not. The equation is simple, and I adapt it to fit the vinegar variety I have in stock. I've used both apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar in place of champagne vinegar and with excellent results.

Bean Salad in Big Bowl
Getty/The Good Brigade

The rest of the ingredients including five different beans (green beans, yellow wax beans, garbanzo beans, dark red kidney beans, and black-eyed peas) are all combined with bell pepper (I opt for green), scallions, flat-leaf parsley, and either fresh oregano leaves or marjoram. Now, some members of my family follow the instructions, using fresh green and yellow wax beans, trimmed, cooked, and shocked to avoid overcooking and to lock in that pretty color. Me? I go for canned. Yes, the swap cuts the prep time in half (yay!), but it also brings this recipe just a smidge closer to the bean salad of my childhood. Definitive proof the OG bean salad in-fact originated from a store-bought jar? Only Grammy knows.

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