Other, Recipes, Sides

Mom’s Three Bean Salad #CookoutWeek

Three bean salad… a simple, classic cookout dish. I can’t get enough of this make-ahead salad!

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

I’m not sure when I switched from being a three bean salad hater to a three bean salad lover, but I’m glad I gave this classic cookout dish another try! My mom always makes her three bean salad with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans, so naturally, that’s what I do too. What I love the most about this simple side dish is that you can make it ahead. In fact, I highly recommend doing so, as the flavor gets better over time.

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

This recipe is one of the few things I ever make with canned vegetables. There’s something about the texture of canned veggies that just isn’t my favorite. But I think the softness of the canned green beans and wax beans really make this dish. If canned veggies aren’t your thing, try frozen… or even cook your own green and wax beans and use them here. I use frozen veggies in this dish frequently. Just make sure to thaw them first!

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

As I’ve made this three bean salad more often over the years, I’ve slowly adapted it *just a bit* from my mom’s recipe. I go heavier on the pepper than she does (but that’s true with about anything I make… I heart black pepper!), usually make a little less dressing and reduce the sugar, AND (game changer) add fresh herbs when I have them on hand! Fresh dill is my FAVE in this dish, but parsley and chives are also excellent. A little bit of chopped fresh herbs adds a little extra pop that we love. Totally optional, but highly recommended.

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

Speaking of totally optional but highly recommended… be sure to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

one year ago: No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
two years ago: Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa
three years ago: Tabbouleh
four years ago: Pretzel Rolls
five years ago: Strawberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal
six years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Pancakes

Check out other new and yummy cookout recipes here: An InLinkz Link-up

So tell me… are you a three bean salad hater or lover… and how do you make it??

Mom's Three Bean Salad

  • Servings: makes about 6 cups
  • Print

from my mom 🙂


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil (a light olive, canola, grapeseed, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (can also be cut down to 1/2 cup if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 15 ounce can green beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible) – frozen, thawed green beans are also great here too
  • 1 – 15 ounce can wax beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible) – frozen, thawed wax beans also work well too
  • 1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible)
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2-1 cup green pepper, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, optional – try dill, parsley, or chives


Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl. Fold in green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, onion, and green pepper. Stir in chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

In my opinion, this salad tastes best the next day. There will be extra liquid so you could reduce the vinegar and oil down to 1/3 cup if desired, or add an extra can of beans. Or just leave as-is… that’s what I always do! Enjoy!

Other, Recipes, Sides

SRC: Tunisian Chickpea Salad

This easy Tunisian-inspired chickpea salad is wonderfully flavorful. In fall and winter, your spices and dried herbs will amaze you… and in the summer, this salad comes alive with fresh herbs. Great year-round dish!

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

For years I thought I didn’t like chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. My dad [who admittedly isn’t the biggest fan of vegetables] would top his salad bar salads at Pizza Hut with lots of those cream-colored, round beans while I looked on with a disgusted look on my face. They looked odd, beans weren’t something I ever ate, they had a weird name, and why would you put beans on a salad anyways?!? Sometime along the way I discovered hummus, and with it… learned that chickpeas were the star of that great show so I gave the chickpeas a good ‘ole second [or fiftieth] chance. And now I can’t get enough of them.

Chickpea burgers, chickpea salad, roasted chickpeas… I love it all. So when I saw this Tunisian Chickpea Salad on simply.food, a vegetarian food blog run by the lovely Nayna, I pretty much immediately knew I was making it for the Secret Recipe Club this month. Nanya has so many great recipes on her blog though, so it was a tough decision between this chickpea salad and Pumpkin Rice, Sweet Rice, or Spicy Stuffed Tunisian Bread. Nayna’s mission with her blog is to create simple, home-cooked recipes that are sensational and mouth-watering. She even has a couple of cookbooks available, so she must be doing something right!

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

Ben and I absolutely loved this light and refreshing chickpea salad. I made it on a Saturday afternoon and we enjoyed bowls of it during football watching… a little appetizer-precursor to our homemade corndog mini muffins. 🙂 Not exactly two foods that go side-by-side, but two delicious dishes nonetheless. This salad was incredibly flavorful–full of aromatic herbs like coriander and mint along with some staples like garlic powder [I think fresh would be too potent], crushed red pepper, green peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. I used dried herbs because it’s November, but in the summer this would be a great way to use all the herbs I grow in the backyard! I do have to say though, part of the reason I was SO into making this salad was because this year I actually dried all my leftover herbs from my garden instead of letting them die with the first hard frost. So now I have a huge mason jar filled with dried mint. I forsee a lot of tea… and now this salad[!!!] in my future! I am so excited.

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

This awesome chickpea salad gets more enticing the longer it sits, but it doesn’t make a huge batch so I don’t think it’ll last very long anywhere! Next time I make it, you better believe I’ll make a double batch. Nayna recommends serving it with pita bread which I will DEFINITELY try too! Enjoy! Thanks, Nayna for a great recipe!

one year ago: Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin
two years ago: Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls
three years ago: Pork, Apple, and Ginger Stir Fry
four years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
five years ago: Lime-Soy Chicken

Tunisian Chickpea Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from simply.food


  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped – optional
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


In a medium bowl, stir together chickpeas, tomatoes, green pepper, and shallot. Pour vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice on top, then stir again. Sprinkle with coriander, crushed red pepper, mint, and garlic and gently stir. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let flavors meld, then serve chilled.

Please check out all the other great recipes made for the SRC this month at the link below! Happy Monday! 🙂

Other, Recipes, Sides


Tabbouleh is one of those things I didn’t know I liked, but once I found out I did, I wanted to make it all the time. This cold Lebanese salad is so fresh and flavorful. It goes with almost anything! I had eaten tabbouleh at the occasional restaurant over the years, but just kinda ate it because it was there. It wasn’t until I went to a Mediterranean theme dinner and decided to try my hand at making a batch that I really fell in love with it.

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

There are a zillion recipes for tabbouleh, though most are pretty much the same: bulghur wheat, parsley, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. I had Marisa‘s recipe pinned and decided to try it out because it was actually her grandma’s recipe, and we all know that grandma recipes are the best! Marisa’s grandma puts an extra spin on it by adding a little allspice at the end. This makes it extra special, in my opinion.

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made this salad for several groups now and have actually had some comments on how much better this version is from others. Chance? Or Marisa’s grandma’s special touch? I’ll never know! 🙂 This recipe makes a large bowl–plenty of servings for a party, a week’s worth of lunches, or whatever you fancy! I’m sure the recipe could be halved too if you need less. Oh, and be sure to try scooping some up with pita bread… heavenly!

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Italian Chicken & Veggie Couscous Bowls
two years ago: Banana Crumb Muffins
three years ago: Creamy Taco Mac

Tabbouleh [from Hummus and Jalapenos]
click to print


  • 2 cups bulghur wheat [there are different sizes–I used medium]
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 3-4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper, and allspice to taste


Rinse bulghur in cold water 3-4 times, then pour boiling water over top. Let rest in large bowl for at least a half hour, then drain with a fine mesh strainer and set aside in a bowl.

Remove stems from parsley and place in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Place parsley, tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, lemon juice, and olive oil in bowl with wheat. Season with salt, pepper, and allspice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Time: 60 minutes.
Yield: 16 servings.

Other, Recipes, Sides

CranApple Stuffing

So, the stuffing is one of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving dinner. It’s tied with cranberry relish [not the stuff outta a can here!] and pumpkin pie for the top spot on my plate. Mashed potatoes, turkey, green bean casserole… ehh, I’d take ’em or leave ’em. But stuffing? No way. I gotta have it.

Consequently, when Diana at The Chic Life announced the Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge 2010, I knew that stuffing would be my dish! Except, I think the technical term is “dressing” since it’s not stuffed in anything. But technicalities, people, technicalities!

This stuffing, er–dressing, is fabulous. Crisp, flavorful bread punctuated with sweet apples and cranberries and chunky, crisp but not mushy, carrots and celery, all flavored with garlic and herbs.

CranApple Stuffing - an easy, healthy stuffing recipe bursting with apples, cranberries, and carrots!

And you don’t have to tell anyone, but my stuffing is just a little bit healthier too–multigrain bread instead of white bread, additional fruits and veggies for nutrients and flavor, the omission of sausage, and the addition of wheat germ for protein, fiber, and other nutrients galore.

Hungry already? I am! Here’s the recipe, I’m headed to the fridge… leftovers are callin’ my name!

CranApple Stuffing

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

inspired by Betty Crocker


  • 5 cups multigrain French bread, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup diced celery [about 2 ribs]
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot [1 large]
  • 1 cup peeled and diced apple [1 medium]
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil


In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, apple, and garlic and cook until fragrant and softened, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss wheat germ with bread cubes in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, milk, and egg.

After fruits and veggies are softened, stir in cranberries, sage, and thyme. Remove from heat and spoon into bowl with bread cubes.

Pour egg mixture over everything and toss to coat.

Spoon into 1 1/2 quart baking dish, top with freshly ground black pepper, and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours to set before baking.

Then bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and top is crispy.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite healthy substitution?