Sprouted Three-Bean Salad (or Five-Bean)

Dry Bean Diversity

Dry Bean Diversity

By Cat, Jan 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve always liked this salad ever since I had it in the lunch room at Bigfork Schools where I grew up, but I had never made it. So this year I signed up for a 5-day juice fast at the Wellness Education Center in Kalispell, MT. For at least a week after the fast, you slowly re-introduce solid foods, beginning with raw fruit, then raw or sprouted vegetables, and so on. I decided to make a bean salad using sprouted beans to eat as a protein source until I could add meat to my diet again.

I didn’t have to look far for a good recipe – my newish copy of Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, with Mary G. Enig, PhD.. You have to start this at least 3 days in advance of when you want to eat the salad, because it takes time for the dried beans to sprout. But it’s well worth the wait.

2022: Hmm, the last time I made this salad was in 2012. I’d totally forgotten about it until I found a jar of anasazi beans in my cupboard. I didn’t recall what I’d used them for in the past, so I looked it up on my site and found this recipe. I’ll try it again!

Three Bean Salad (or 5-Bean)

This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mar G. Enig, PhD. (1), with ideas from Elise.com (2). To make it 5-bean, add two of the following: lima beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, appaloosa beans, or fresh green beans. Or add four of those choices to make it 7-bean…

The original recipe doesn’t specify sprouting them, but I highly recommend it, as “sprouting the beans makes for a more nutritious salad.” See my article: Soaking & Sprouting Beans for more detail.

I don’t advise using the raw sprouted beans in the salad – some varieties of raw sprouted beans are OK for a snack, but not for a meal. After sprouting, I lightly steam the beans so they are not overcooked (to preserve as much of the vital nutrients as possible).

Serves 4 to 8. See below for testing.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Prepare Beans: For 3-bean salad: ½ cup each: dried, mixed, cannellini, kidney and garbanzo beans (total 1½ cups) to make 2 – 2 ½ cups cooked beans); for 5-bean salad, add two from the following list: anasazi beans, appaloosa beans, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans.  Fresh green beans can also be added, but don’t require sprouting first.
  • warm filtered water
  • liquid whey or lemon juice (1 Tbsp/quart of water)
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Salad: ½ celery stalk, chopped fine
  • ⅛ red onion, chopped fine (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup mixed red and green peppers, chopped or cut into julienne (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary
  • juice of ¼ lemon
  • Dressing: 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Rapadura sugar or honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • Equipment:
  • 3-quart saucier,* saucepan or Dutch Oven (saucier is recommended for this recipe, because of its sloped sides)
  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl or jar (for dressing)

‘* saucier: this is similar to a regular saucepan, but while a saucepan has vertical sides, a saucier has sloped sides. See Chef’s Corner Store article (3).

Method: Soaking or Sprouting Beans

NOTE: if you wish to use fresh green beans, they do not need the soaking/sprouting. Simply add them during the last few minutes of cooking/steaming.

  1. Cover dried beans with warm water, about 2″ or so above the beans.  Stir in whey or lemon juice and leave in a warm place overnight (7 – 12 hours).  Check after a few hours and add more water as necessary. I highly recommend sprouting them over an additional 2 – 3 days (see Beans & Other Legumes: Soaking & Sprouting for instructions).
  2. If:
    • Soaked beans: Drain beans, rinse and put in saucier.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. If including kidney beans, boil for 10 minutes before reducing heat. Simmer for about 1 – 3 hours, until tender, adding more water as necessary.
    • Sprouted beans: After sprout tails begin to form on all the beans, give them a final rinse and place in the steamer basket of your steamer, over simmering water. Steam about 25 minutes. However, kidney  and cannellini beans should be boiled first, about 10 minutes in a saucepan. I usually sprout them in a separate jar from the other legumes.
  3. During the last half hour of simmering/steaming, add salt and pepper. Add fresh green beans, if using, about 15 minutes later. When done, drain and rinse.
  4. Chop all veggies and herbs fine, and stir into beans. Squeeze lemon over all and stir.
  5. In separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, then add to beans, tossing to coat.
  6. Chill several hours or overnight, so the beans can soak up the flavors of the dressing.


Jan 5, 2010: I sprouted cannellini, kidney, appaloosa, and garbanzo beans for 3 days, then steamed them for about 25 minutes until done but not soft. (I forgot about boiling kidney beans for 10 minutes – OOPS). Then followed the recipe as written. I had about 3 cups beans (after sprouting), so could have used a bit more dressing. Otherwise, delicious! Next time if I include kidney beans, I’ll do the boiling thing; perhaps sprout them separately so I can boil just them; then steam with the other beans.

Jan 4, 2011: As before I sprouted my beans first (cannellini, kidney, appaloose and garbanzo). Most of the cannellini, which were from my 2009 garden, did not sprout after 4 days, but all the others had nice tails. This time I got 2 cups of beans, which is perfect. OOPS, forgot – again – about boiling the cannellini and kidney beans. Steamed about 25 minutes as before. Wonderful taste with the dressing, after marinating for a day.

Jan 12, 2012: As before, sprouted my beans (cannellini, navy, anasazi and kidney) over 3 days to ½” long tails on some; but the navy didn’t sprout – probably too old. Still, they got a good soak. Got almost 2 cups beans. I remembered to boil the cannellini and kidney beans. Then steamed all about 25 minutes. As always, this tasted great!


  1. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mar G. Enig, PhD.
  2.  elise.com (elise.com/recipes/archives/001911three_bean_salad.php)
  3. Chef’s Corner Store (chefscornerstore.com/blog/what-is-a-saucier-pan/)

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