Kathy’s Kidney Bean Salad

Before we were married, some of Jerri’s friends gave her a Recipe Shower. Everyone brought some of their favorite recipes written or typed on recipe cards, and the hostess furnished a recipe card box.

Many of the cards are like word portraits of the cooks who wrote them. For instance, on the back of Kathy’s Kidney Bean salad card is a handwritten note in green ink that says, “This basic recipe stretches beautifully if needed by just adding more lettuce (or more of anything) to the one can of beans–just add and taste until satisfied.”

As you will see in the recipe below, Kathy was a creative and brave cook with a good sense of taste. She created a recipe that people liked but was willing to keep trying variations on the theme. She was a teacher at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois a northwest suburb of Chicago where Jerri also taught.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the school’s most famous alumni. She graduated the year before Jerri began teaching at the school, but Jerri might have inspired Dave Butz, who was elected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team who graduated 4 years later.

Jerri still treasures the memory of that party and makes many of the recipes from time to time. Kathy’s Kidney Bean Salad is one of our favorites.


1 can kidney beans (soup can size)
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup celery
1 cup lettuce
1/4 cup relish (sourish)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise


Kathy’s instructions are simply “Mix all ingredients together and chill.” Here is what we do.

Cover one or two eggs with cold water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Boil four minutes, turn off the heat and let the eggs continue cooking for about eight minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

Drain the can of kidney beans and dump them in a large bowl. Wash a rib of celery and chop it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and shred several leaves of lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Mince the onion. Add the vegetables and the relish to the beans. Cool, peel and chop the egg or eggs and add them in the bowl.

Add a quarter cup of whipped salad dressing or mayonnaise and mix well. If it seems too dry, add a little more dressing. Taste and add a little salt if you think it needs it.

Chill and serve.

NOTES: Here are Kathy’s notes for this recipe: “This is my own concoction, so the amounts are only approximate–I just throw. I often do not use celery; sometimes leave out the egg; sometimes add other things like red cabbage, carrots, green pepper, etc. Just whatever you have. It’s the basic mixture of beans and relish and mayonnaise and lettuce that counts, really. All else simply adds to these.”

Jerri often replaces the lettuce with more celery and usually uses two eggs. We normally have sweet pickle relish in the fridge, so that is what goes in. It’s good with green or red cabbage too. Once you have made it according to Kathy’s recipe a couple of times, just use your imagination.

This salad is so good that I have been known to finish off the leftovers as a snack before going to bed.

NOTE: The Recipe Shower was also the source of the recipe for Carole’s Tuna Casserole. It makes a delicious tuna casserole that has no noodles and no cream of mushroom soup. You will find the recipe here.

One thought on “Kathy’s Kidney Bean Salad”

  1. Kidney red beans are commonly used in chili soup chili con carne and are an integral part of the cuisine in northern regions of India. Red kidney beans are used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice. The smaller, darker red beans are also used, particularly in Louisiana families with a recent Caribbean heritage. Small kidney beans used in La Rioja, Spain, are called caparrones.:’`*

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