Three-bean salad is a perennial picnic favorite because it’s easy to throw together and it tastes good at almost any temperature. Our take tosses a colorful array of beans, radishes, and capers in a sherry vinaigrette for a great balance of sweet, briny, and sour—a far cry from its salad bar kin.
What to buy: Dried beans can be substituted for the canned beans if you prefer. Use 1 1/2 cups cooked beans for each 15-ounce can of beans called for.
Game plan: If you are making the salad ahead of time, toss the radishes in right before serving to prevent them from losing their color.
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
6 small radishes, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Strain beans and plunge the strainer into the water bath until the beans are cool. Remove beans from the water bath and spread out on a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel to dry.
When green beans are cool, transfer to a large bowl and add radishes, cannellini beans, and kidney beans; set aside.
Combine shallot, vinegar, capers, parsley, and sugar in a medium nonreactive bowl. While whisking continuously, add oil in a steady stream until completely incorporated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add vinaigrette to bean mixture and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature or chilled.