4 Bean Picnic Salad with carrots, cucumbers, peppers and mango

Last week, there was a picnic at my daughter's preschool. Everyone brought a dish to school and all the parents and children sat outside on blankets and had lunch. My daughter loved playing in the playground and eating popsicles and ice cream. She was not ready to leave. We had to carry her outside.
I wanted to make a side dish for the picnic which could be made ahead of time as I had also volunteered to help set up the picnic lunch. And as I have said before, I am not a morning person, specially when it comes to cooking. I wanted the dish to have some indian flavor as well.
This bean salad idea just came to me. I jotted down the idea because I knew I would forget it when the time comes to cook it a week later. 

Bean salad

This salad has 4 types of beans, lots of veggies and some fruit and a nice sweet and tangy dressing. It tastes better once it sits for a while in the refrigerator. So it is the perfect make-ahead dish. It also goes nicely with a light Indian meal. I made a huge quantity. Halving it would make a good salad portion for 4-6 people depending on the rest of the meal. It also makes for a healthy snack. Make a batch and it will keep in the fridge for atleast 4 days.

Picnic Bean Salad

2 cups black eyed peas
2 cups kidney beans
1.5 cups chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1.5 cups black chickpeas
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing (optional) *see notes
1 large red onion
1 long english cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 medium carrots
2 mangoes (ripe but not soft)
1 bunch cilantro
4 tsp cumin powder
6 tsp chaat masala
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp black pepper
  • Soak the beans overnight (6-8 hours). Drain and cook in a pressure cooker with 2 tsp salt and asafoetida if using. Do not add a lot of water to the beans. Just enough to cover. Drain the beans after cooking. The drained water can be used for other dishes. Pressure cook for 1 whistle (10-15 mins). We do not want mushy beans.
  • Cut the onion, cucumber and bell pepper into 1 inch strips. Peel the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Cut the mango into cubes. Finely chop the cilantro.
  • Mix the drained beans and prepared vegetables and fruits in a large bowl. Add more salt as needed, cumin powder, chaat masala and zest of 2 lemons.
  • Prepare dressing in a separate bowl by whisking together apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.
  • Toss the salad with the dressing and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
4 Bean Salad


  • I used asafoetida while cooking the beans because it is a good digestive aid. Adding salt while cooking the beans will flavor the beans which will taste bland if salt is added only in the dressing.
  • Canned beans can be used instead of soaking and cooking dried beans.
  • Strawberries can also be used in this salad with or without the mango.


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