Beans weren't really around in my house growing up and they never seemed particularly exciting to me. But when I learned about all the health benefits that beans offer, I was determined to find a way to jazz them up and really enjoy them. Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, they're very high in fiber and magnesium, which are great for gut health and controlling blood sugar.
If you've tried beans in the past and found that they cause excessive and uncomfortable gas, don't be so quick to write them off. In a study from 2011, scientists followed a group of people who didn't normally eat beans or a high fiber diet over the course of 8 weeks as they introduced beans into their diet (Winham, D.M., & Hutchins, A.M., 2011). After the first week, 35% experienced excessive gas, but that number dropped to 11% after 4 weeks and only 3% after 8 weeks. If you don't regularly eat beans or a lot of fiber, start small with 1/4-1/2 cup a day or 5 grams fiber per day. Keep with it and the uncomfortable stomach symptoms will likely subside over time (although this may not be the case if you have IBS or other digestive disorders).
This triple bean salad can be made easily with minimal prep if using canned beans, but if you have the time, I recommend soaking and cooking dried beans. Not only is it much cheaper to buy dried beans, you avoid the chemicals and additives that come with canned beans. You can do this in bulk and then have beans cooked for the week, ready to be thrown into salads or eaten as a nice side dish.
about 1/2 cup of white beans
about 1/2 cup of kidney beans
about 1/2 cup black beans
12 cups water (if using dried beans)
3-4 chives, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium shallots, sliced into thin rings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
If using dried beans, soak them separately or the black beans will dye the other beans black and your salad won't have the pretty, multicolored effect. You can soak in cool water overnight or in boiling hot water for 1 hour. Use about 3 cups of water per 1/2 cup beans.
Cook the beans separately in 3 pots of boiling water, checking for doneness at 45 mins-1 hour. Depending on the size and power of your flame, cooking times will vary.
Sauté shallots, and garlic in olive oil for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Assemble the salad by combining the beans in a bowl and adding the shallots, garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
Winham, D.M., & Hutchins, A.M. (2011). Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies. Nutrition journal. 2011 Nov 21;10:128. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-128.