Try This Irresistible Twist on Kidney Bean Salad

~ Looking for a unique and delicious Kidney Bean Salad recipe? Look no further than this upgraded version inspired by the iconic dish served at Nick Anthe’s restaurant for over three decades. With its incredible flavor and minimal preparation time, this salad is perfect for last-minute meals or party preparations. And the best part? You probably already have all the ingredients on hand! ~

This Kidney Bean Salad is a beloved family favorite that has become a staple at our holiday gatherings and everyday meals. We enjoy it for lunch, as a side dish, or even as a snack. In fact, I’ve made multiple batches of this salad in just the last month alone! Trust me, it’s too good to miss and too easy not to try.

What Makes It So Special?

As a local reporter once described it, Nick Anthe’s Bean Salad is a “mysteriously magical blend of textures and flavors.” Over the years, the recipe has been featured in various newspapers and delighted fans who miss the restaurant’s famous Bean Salad.

But here’s the best part: you can easily recreate this legendary salad at home! It combines the earthy-umami flavor of kidney beans with the savory kick of onions and a surprising touch of sweetness from pickles. The combination of soft beans, crunchy celery, and creamy dressing adds satisfying layers of texture to every bite.

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And if that wasn’t enough, here’s another reason to love this salad: it can be made ahead of time! Yes, it stays perfectly fresh for days. You can enjoy it throughout the week or prepare a double batch in advance for cookouts or family gatherings. It’s a big payoff for practically no effort!

How My Version Differs from the Original

This Kidney Bean Salad holds a special place in my family’s history. We used to enjoy it at Nick Anthe’s restaurant, making memories with my father-in-law, Jo, and my husband during our high school days. Since the restaurant closed, my mother-in-law, Grandma Jo, has been recreating the salad using the recipe from the local newspapers.

As someone who loves this salad, I wanted to make a healthier version that still had all the delicious flavors. So, I made a few small tweaks and gathered a panel of taste-testers (including Jo herself!) to ensure it was just right.

Here’s what we decided on:

The Pepper

Jo always used black pepper instead of the white pepper called for in the original recipe. After extensive testing, I can vouch for this change. The musky, earthy flavor of white pepper can be overwhelming, while black pepper adds the perfect amount of spice.

The Dressing

To make the dressing lighter and healthier, I replaced some of the traditional full-fat mayonnaise with nonfat, plain Greek yogurt. The new, healthier commercial options for mayonnaise make it easy to swap in some healthy fats without compromising on flavor.

The Sweet Pickles

Most sweet pickles contain high-fructose corn syrup, but there are brands available that don’t use it. I recommend looking for pickles without added high-fructose corn syrup to keep this recipe updated for health-conscious cooks.

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Grandma Jo and my family approved these changes, and I hope you will too. This is now my go-to version of Kidney Bean Salad!

How to Make My Updated Kidney Bean Salad

  1. Start by draining and rinsing your kidney beans, then proceed to chop the onions, celery, and pickles.

Ingredients for the salad

  1. Mix everything together and store it in the fridge.

Chopped pickles, celery, and onion

That’s it! You’re practically done already. This salad couldn’t be easier to prepare. Now, let’s discuss a few serving options.

White Pepper or Black: The Great Debate!

The original recipe called for white pepper, but my family prefers black pepper for its flavor profile. Although you can try either option, I recommend black pepper for a more balanced taste.

How to Serve Your Kidney Bean Salad

  • For a vintage vibe, serve it as a starter with small slices of fresh bread or grainy crackers.
  • Most often, we enjoy it as a salad alongside sandwiches or bowls of soup for a quick and satisfying meal.
  • It’s also a fantastic addition to summer potlucks or cookouts, complementing classic dishes like burgers or shish kabobs.
  • And while it might seem unusual, this salad holds a special place on our Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, creating lasting memories alongside other holiday favorites.

In reality, this salad is delicious anytime and anywhere. Its timeless appeal has captured the hearts of many, including mine. I hope you’ll give it a try and fall in love with it just as we have.

Family Cuisine

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