Three beans salad is a typical American picnic food that nothing has to do with my Italian traditions or those of my beloved England where I am currently putting down roots.
You can recognize straight away that this is an American recipe because of the amount of sugar it calls for. They really can’t live without. (Sorry to you all reading this and coming from USA).
And that’s actually the reason I decided to prep it the first time that I read about its existence, almost sure that I was going to find the taste funny and weirdly sweet for a dressing.
Unfortunately for me I was wrong and the acidity of the vinegar perfectly balances the sweetness given by the sugar leaving you with a sweet and sour dressing that is very pleasant in taste and pairs nicely with other veggies as well as with legumes, used in the original version.
I am not a big fan of sugar though. Even if I work as a chef I am actually a pastry chef, and surprise surprise, I don’t really enjoy sweet food nor I think sugar should be that much present in our diets. I don’t demonize it, I simply think is one of those ingredients that should be used sparingly and eat with extreme moderation.
I decided, then, to substitute it with xylitol for a less caloric result. The final taste, I have to tell you, it is nice, but not quite exactly the same that you achieve using regular sugar.
There are lots of articles against and pro xylitol out there and as usual is difficult to understand what is right and what not if even the experts don’t appear to agree on the safety of a certain ingredient. For what I have understood in low doses it is safe, and in high causes you diarrhea, which to me doesn’t mean that it is unsafe. High doses of certain veggies can cause the same problem, but I don’t stop eating them. Xylitol is unsafe for dogs and in high doses for rats, but to be honest I am not bothered about that. Chocolate is poisonous for dogs and that doesn’t imply that we should stop eating it as well. That’s why I keep using xylitol, very rarely, in very low doses and an organic type from non-gmo sources.
If you are against it, pick the classic white sugar and if you are against this one as well, then try to use agave syrup or the maple one, or even stevia if you manage to find a brand that doesn’t have a weird bitter taste. They should work fine, but you will probably have to change the ratio of the ingredients.
My version is the basic one, the only differences are that I used xylitol instead of white sugar and five types of bean instead of three.
- 240 g canned chickpeas (1 can drained)
- 240 g white beans (1 can drained)
- 240 g edamame beans (1 can drained)
- 200 g green beans
- 40 g red onion finely chopped
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) organic apple cider vinegar
- 50 g (1/4 cup) xylitol
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp french mustard
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Into a bowl mix chickpeas, white beans and kidney beans..
- Add the onions as well.
- If the edamame beans are frozen blanch them in hot water and cool them down before adding them to the other beans.
- Blanch the green beans in salty boiling water for about 4-5 minutes and cool them down in ice water to prevent them from getting dark. Once cold drain them and add them to the bowl.
- To make the dressing mix oil, vinegar, xylitol, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a separated bowl. Make sure the xylitol is almost dissolved whisking it for few minutes.
- Add the dressing to the beans and let the salad rest overnight inside the fridge.
- Adjust salt and pepper and enjoy.
- It is better if you let the salad rest at least few hours and while eating it you need to be sure that the beans are covered with the dressing otherwise you will not enjoy the full taste that it has.