Fennel & Three Bean Salad

15 oz cannelloni beans
15 oz dark red kidney beans
1/4 to 1/3 lb steamed or blanched green beans
1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced very thinly

for the dressing:
1 (large) clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients or pulse them quickly in a blender or Vita-Mix)until a emulsified dressing forms. Drizzle over the salad ingredients and toss gently. I like to allow it to sit for 1 or so hours before serving. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate any leftovers.

My thoughts:

I’ve been thinking about three bean salads for a while now. I read a mention of one on a nonfood blog I read and vaguely remembered my mother eating a(jarred) three-bean salad when I was a child. I sort of remember it being sweet & pickley and not liking it. I still wasn’t sure about the sweet + pickled part of it but a salad made with my favorite beans was appealing. I noticed I had some fennel slowly decomposing in the fridge so on impulse I sliced it up (and my finger on my mandolin, ow) and it really was the perfect addition. Rather than going down the sweet and pickled route I made a very fresh tasting Italian-inspired vinaigrette. I think this might be my new favorite cold salad: simple, delicious and rather impressive looking.

Update: I am happy to say that the salad was just as tasty today as lunch as it was yesterday as a side dish for dinner.


  1. Seems like the fennel really brightened up the flavor of the salad and took it to another level. Great job. (And too bad about getting hurt with the mandolin…no matter how hard I try it always seems to happen to me as well).

  2. I love fennel, such a great flavor. This will be perfect for our spring picnics!

  3. I love bean salad. Adding fennel seems like a really good idea. I love your dressing recipe! It sounds like it would be really nice with the beans and fennel. Not too overpowering.

  4. Oh, yum! That does look fantastic. I’ll bet it would work well to take to cookouts, etc. Hope your finger is feeling better!

  5. I love 3 Bean Salad but have never thought to add fennel. This sounds like a great recipe… a must try for sure.

  6. mmmm this looks and sounds devine! thanks!

  7. fennel is such a slap on the forehead, “Doh”-simple kind of addition to 3 bean that I had never thought about. It makes perfect sense though.

  8. I hope your finger is on the mend! Those pesky mandolins…Your photo and recipe are serenading summer dreams to my mind. Thank you 🙂

  9. I can only imagine the extra layer of licoricey flavor that fennel imparts to whole mix! Another recipe added to the menu for the big family reunion in July! Thanks.

  10. We have fennel! and the beans and so this will be lunch! Thanks from Santa Barbara, s

  11. I love fennel this salad sounds great. I can’t wait to try it.

  12. to save your fingers, PLEASE use the guard that came with your mandolin. I used it every time and never nick my fingers. The salad definately is something I will be making. Wonder how adding some wax beans and sliced mushrooms to it might work…mmmmmmm.

  13. kidzmom42- I did use the guard! But I was distracted and my thumb dipped dangerously low…

  14. ✿ɮCɮαw~ɳée✿

    Mmmmm looks Yummeh!! I will def be trying this recipe!! So how’s the finger doing?

  15. i love fennel, but don’t find it readily available here. Any other veggies I could use as a substitute?

  16. Bonnie- My thumb still really hurts! It is in an awkward spot.

    Kamana-Kohlrabi? I am not sure if it would be easier to find than fennel though. It would have the same sort of crunch.

  17. I never thought of adding fennel to a bean salad. I must try it.

  18. I’m looking forward to trying this one out. It sound like a great addition to a bagged lunch.