Fresh Three-Bean Salad

Since my last recipe was fairly rich in calories it seemed only fair to give my body a rest from all the fat and carbohydrates and prepare something a little more forgiving. During our most recent food shop we picked up 3 large bags of dried pulses; pinto beans; kidney beans and borlotti beans. Naturally I jumped at the chance of doing something extremely healthy with such wonderful ingredients. This salad is exceedingly fresh and has a taste not dissimilar to a recipe for Tabbouleh I posted not long ago. It is perfect eaten on its own, as a snack, or as a side dish – perhaps it would do rather well paired with a Mexican main.

I’ve been a rather naughty boy with beans in the past. However, before your imagination runs away with you I’m speaking merely from a price perspective. By far the cheapest way of consuming beans is to buy them dried, which works out at around 70p per 500g. However, I’ve always cooked with tinned pulses, as I’m a little lazy. While this is by no means expensive, a tin costs around 30p and contains 400g, it isn’t cost effective. I realise that 70p per 500g is worse than 30p per 400g, but you’re forgetting one thing – the dried beans contain no water. After being soaked overnight, 300g of dried beans provides enough food to feed at least 5-6 people, whereas 400g of hydrated beans is probably only enough for 2. As such, and because Katherine told me I have to, from now on I shall only be using dried beans, not counting those tins I still have tucked away in my cupboards.

I’ve also decided to start collecting interesting crockery and kitchen ware since I’ve become rather jealous of the range of beautiful dishes used over at Cooking in Sens. The dish you see before yourselves was bought for £1 at a local recycling shop – it’s beautiful. The shop itself is brilliant – it takes what people no longer want and sells almost everything for between 50p and £2. Therefore, over the coming weeks and months I hope there’ll be a lot more variation on the presentation front.

Three-Bean Salad

Serves 5-6


• 100g dried kidney beans

• 100g dried borlotti beans

• 100g dried pinto beans

• 100g cherry tomatoes, halved

• 3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

• A small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped

• A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• The juice of 1 lemon

• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

• A glug of olive oil

• Salt and pepper


1. By far the most time consuming part of this recipe is dealing with the dried beans. First, you’ll need to soak them in cold water over night. Then follow the packet instructions, which tend to tell you to rinse and then boil them for around 80 minutes, or until tender.

2. Once the pulses are tender rinse them with water until cool. Then mix them, in a bowl, into all the other ingredients. Ensure an even covering of oil and lemon juice before serving.

Cost: The whole salad, which is incredibly filling, should cost no more than around £1.60 to prepare – though the cost will be a little more if not using dried beans. Incidentally, if you don’t intend on using dried beans 4-5 tins of hydrated beans will be adequate.


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31 comments on “Fresh Three-Bean Salad

  1. countrywoodsmoke
    October 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Nice simple frugal food, like it. Would go lovely with some spiced lamb.

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    October 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Looks fantastic!

  3. A Tablespoon of Liz
    October 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    This looks so good! So many amazing flavors all put together!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks! You should check out the Tabbouleh too.

  4. threeblondesandatomas
    October 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    i never would have thought to put this on lamb, but that sounds amazing! i was thinking it would be great over some mahi!!

  5. Rhoda Kirwan
    October 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    The dish is indeed beautiful. I too am looking out
    for more unusual dishes for the recipes I’m cooking. The salad looks amazing and so healthy. You’re putting me to shame because my recent recipes are very much pure indulgence. I do have a healthy streak in me too! I will put some healthy stuff up soon.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks, Rhoda. Haha! Have you seen some of my recent recipes?!

  6. thebigfatnoodle
    October 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    That looks so wholesome and good for you! Lovely recipe, thanks!

  7. zoe@myfoodintranslation
    October 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I’m a sucker for any kind of beans so I think this salad is gonna make an appearance on this week’s menu. And although dried beans are what I go for most of the time (cheaper plus usually better quality) the canned ones work great when you’re pressed for time and are a much cheaper and healthier alternative to other fast meals, so definitely worthy keeping a couple cans on hand :)

  8. Meg (A Dash of Meg)
    October 24, 2011 at 2:07 am

    beautiful pictures and recipe! will be trying this for sure :)

  9. Smedette
    October 24, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Lovely dish. I still have a few cans in my pantry, but have nearly converted to dry/bulk goods. Takes a bit of planning, but I know it saves money in the end.

  10. cookinginsens
    October 24, 2011 at 5:45 am

    That is very pretty.

  11. spree
    October 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Love the combination of beans you’ve used here. This is Right up my alley! Fresh, wholesome, light and satisfying! Good one!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      It appears to be right up the alley of very many people. It was yummy!

  12. wellywoman
    October 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Loving the recipes. I’m always on the look out for new ideas for meals, especially veggie stuff. Just off to cook tea but will be back to note some of the recipes.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks so much, I hope you like my others.

  13. inpursuitofrealfood
    October 25, 2011 at 2:56 am

    That is right up my alley, minus the tomatoes of course :)

  14. Katie
    October 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    This looks lush! I just made a bean salad a few days ago: and always use tinned beans, looking at your costings the dried ones are so much cheaper! Will make sure to use in future!

    Thanks for the recipe!


    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      Thanks, it really was. I shall check yours out.

  15. pursuitofhappieness
    October 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I love bean salads. Looking forward to trying this one!

  16. busymomblogs
    November 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    This recipe looks so good! The combination of the beans, tomatoes, and herbs looks like something I would enjoy. Can’t wait to try it!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks :D. It was absolutely delicious… this post deserves more love.

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