Aunt Lena’s 6 Bean Salad

My Aunt Lena was really my great-aunt, and she was one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. When she was in her 90’s, she would make her 3 bean salad in large batches. Her neighbors in her assisted living complex bought it by the pint as quickly as she could make it, and she made enough in sales to more than pay for the ingredients.

I have altered her recipe a little, using half the oil she used and ensuring it’s extra virgin olive oil. I also use cider vinegar.  Because of the variety of beans involved, this can’t be made in small batches.


  • 3 cans whole green beans
  • 1 can yellow wax beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can baby butter beans
  • 1 can lima beans
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (steamed slightly)
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 1/2 C vinegar
  • 1 C water

Drain each can of vegetables and mix. Rinse the kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans, and black-eyed peas before pouring into mixture. Stir in the other vegetables.

For dressing: heat and stir sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, water, and pepper just until boiling.  Do not boil. Pour over the bean mixture and marinate 24 hours.

Aunt Lena’s legacy lives through her bean salad. As a 4-H leader in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, we have put her bean salad on our menu of catering options. Leaders cater meals to purchase project manuals for 800 youth in our county, in an effort to keep 4-H affordable for every family.


About Mary Biever

High energy wife & mom of teens who loves fun adventures. Passionate about social media, technology, cooking, gardening, 4-H, and building community.
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2 Responses to Aunt Lena’s 6 Bean Salad

  1. Nathan says:

    Yum! I don’t currently have all the ingredients in our stockpile but just might have to put them on the shopping list. Thanks for sharing Mary!

    • Mary Biever says:

      Nathan, this is very much a use what you have recipe. I make a large quantity for the variety of beans and veggies. You could make a simpler version with 1/3 of the quantity, using what you have. The main idea is to keep 1/3 of the recipe green beans and then to use what you have. I use the corn because my family eats bean salad better if it has corn in it. Hope this works for you!

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