The Biggest Mistake To Avoid When Making Bean Salad

You know you should eat more beans but, for some reason, can't bring yourself to do it. You might enjoy hummus from time to time, but it can be a slippery slope of carb consumption depending on how many pita chips you end up eating along with it. Maybe you work chili into your dinner rotation a few times a month, which is good but may not always be the best dinner option during the hot summer months.

Bean salad is an excellent dish to work into your menu as an entrée or side dish. It's highly nutritious, requires little skill to make, and can tag along to your next potluck. After all, it isn't the same old potato or macaroni salad. However, despite being deceptively simple to cook, bean salad can be tough to make delicious. 

The biggest mistake to avoid when making a fresh bean salad is dressing and seasoning cold beans. Cooking the beans ahead of time and storing them in the fridge is fine, but be sure to warm them in the microwave or briefly on the stove before dressing. Beans have noticeably less flavor when cold, which may cause you to overseason them to compensate — but this could come back to bite you as they return to room temperature.

More tips to ensure a delicious bean salad

Two other pitfalls that get in the way of a delicious bean salad are improper draining and forgetting about texture. The starchy bean liquid — whether from your stove or a can — can be delicious in its own right but usually results in watery bean salad. Beans need to be thoroughly drained before you add seasoning and dressing.

For texture, make sure the type of beans you choose for your salad are not overcooked or aren't too mushy when they come out of the can. For example, canned green beans are convenient but soft and may be off-putting to some. Instead, try blanching fresh green beans and chilling them in ice water to preserve their natural crunch. Crunchy diced green beans can add a fantastic textural contrast to a salad with soft canned beans, like garbanzo and kidney.

To apply your new skills, try our three-bean salad recipe. This dish is friendly for beginners, can be made with your favorite types of beans, and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. But remember, don't assemble this dish while your main ingredient is stone cold!