Monday, May 1, 2017

Jan's Amish Three-Bean Salad

Jan here, just back from a trip to Amish Country. Oh, the scenery! The simple sound of trotting horses along country roads! The simpler, slower pace of life!

The food!

I have to admit, I love food in Amish Country. Not souse so much, as you can see in the following post, but mush, scrapple, chicken pie, chicken and noodles, three-bean salad... All foods I grew up on!

Don't forget the pie!!!! 

Since I've been traveling for the past ten days, you get a re-run of a post I wrote after a visit to Amish Country four springs ago...

Jan's Amish Three-Bean Salad

Jan here, home from a week long trip to visit family back East in Amish Country.

Now some of you might think Amish Country is in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, or even Holmes County, Ohio. And while there are large Amish settlements in both of those places, real Amish Country is in LaGrange and Elkhart Counties in northern Indiana.

Of course, when you visit Amish Country, you have to eat. And yes, we went to the best restaurants and had the best soups, mashed potatoes and PIE!!!

But I thought you'd like a look at my dad's refrigerator. This is the kind of stuff he keeps on hand for lunches....

These are the meats for sandwiches.

On the left is turkey...the kind normal people buy.

The top center? That's Lebanon baloney. Pure heaven. Oh my. I can taste it now, just looking at that slice....

But the other stuff? Souse.

Souse is made by taking all the leftover pig stuff after you're done butchering, adding in some onions and peppers, adding some good, rich broth, putting it all in a loaf pan and letting it solidify into a block of...this.

I tried it. I won't be making any at our house. I'll let your imagination figure out what parts of a pig would be leftover after making ham, bacon and sausage.

And now the cheeses.

Clockwise from the lower left: Colby from the Amish cheese factory out near Middlebury, Baby Swiss from Holmes County, smoked Gouda, New York Cheddar packaged by Yoder's Market in Shipshewana, and a bit of Muenster.

When you make a sandwich with wheat bread, spicy mustard, turkey and some of that Baby Swiss, you've got yourself a good sandwich!

Here's the final thing to round out a good, Amish Country lunch - Three Bean Salad.

Dad buys his from Das Dutchman Essenhaus (just the best restaurant in the area. Take a look at it here), and it's the tastiest commercial Three Bean Salad I've ever had.

My mom used to make it quite often in the summer, and several years ago I developed my own super simple recipe.

Jan's Three Bean Salad


1 can green beans, drained
1 can yellow (or wax) beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1/2 small onion, sliced thin and separated into rings
1/4 cup green pepper, cut in 1/2" chunks
1 cup Italian salad dressing or use this recipe for a more traditional dressing:
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch black pepper

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes. Drain the excess salad dressing before serving.

Now you're all set for an Amish Country lunch!

Don't forget! Naomi's Hope is coming out next month! You can pre-order your copy by going to my website and following the link to your favorite on-line retailer!

Despite growing pains in her 1846 Amish community in Indiana, Naomi Schrock has settled into a comfortable life in her parents’ home with her adopted son, Davey. Surrounded by family and friends, she tries not to think about the fact that she’s not at the top of any man’s list of potential wives. Yet when Cap Stoltzfus moves into the area and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be part of a life she never dared to hope for.

When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey’s true family, Naomi and Cap must unite to make the decision that will determine the boy’s future as well as their own. How can she relinquish him to these unknown relatives? And can God somehow bring wholeness to her heart?

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. I`m so excited for Naomi`s story! And how exciting that you got to go back to Amish country!!!! I much prefer the plain and simple fare compared to the fancy dancy food structures fancy restaurants serve. I never know how to eat those!

    1. There isn't any food more plain and simple than mashed potatoes, bread, cheese, a veggie or two...and for me, a bit of roast beef or savory stew. :)

      But the simple meals, while they don't "delight the eye" as much as those fancy meals at pricey restaurants, certainly satisfy something more than an empty stomach, don't they?

      One of my favorite scenes from the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, is when Gandalf is visiting Bilbo early in the story, and Bilbo has a loaf of brown bread and a hunk of cheese on the table, and a kettle steaming on the fire. Throw in a crisp apple, and you have a meal fit for a king.

  2. Jan, what a wonderful photo of the barn being built! And that perfect moment of the buggy riding by. :) I'm glad you had a great trip! I still need to make this bean salad. I love it so much!

    1. Every once in a while I get to take an iconic photo, and this is one of my favorites. That barn is finished now, and is the home of "Ben's Soft Pretzels" on State Road 5 in Shipshewana.

      And we did have a wonderful trip. Seeing family was even better than the time I spent connecting with readers and doing a bit of research. :)

  3. I am skipping the beans, all of 'em, and going straight for the pie! Must have pie!!!! I haven't had homemade custard pie in ages.... because I'm the only one who loves it, and I'd eat the whole thing. But right now I have eggs galore (happy spring hens) and milk.... and pie crust in the freezer... Oh, I think this is a must! Coconut or straight????

    Not sure.

    Jan, I'm so glad you had a great trip. I love the barn, the hugeness of it!!! OH MY STARS. Mammoth structure!

    It's a pretzel barn??????? REALLY???????

  4. So Lebanon bologna.... isn't that like Thuringer? I think I've seen it double labeled here, back in the day....

    And souse looks like head cheese.

    That's all I can say about that! :)

    Maybe same idea, with varying parts?????

    Too jiggly and weird for this Yankee!

    1. LOL! I can hear your voice with all these questions and comments!

      The barn was built to be a commercial building - kind of a strip mall, I think - but then Ben's pretzel business boomed and they needed the room. Ben has a bakery just down the road for other baked goods, and the pretzels were threatening to overwhelm the smaller building. I do love to see the businesses thriving, though!

      Custard pie....yum! I had two pieces while we were visiting Amish country. It was my mom's favorite pie, so I think of her whenever I eat it. :)

      Lebanon balogna is made in Lancaster County, PA. I guess you could say it's a bit like Thuringer, but it has it's own flavor. The sweet version is my favorite...

      Souse is a lot like head cheese, except it's made with all kinds of other stuff. With head cheese, you cook the head and get the meat off of that (trying not to go into too much detail here), while souse is made from the leftovers from making sausage and everything else you can get from a hog.

      In other news, my copy of Peace in the Valley arrived today!

  5. Nutmeg! I love when dishes have just a hint of nutmeg.

    1. Oh, me too! It adds a sweetness without being sweet, doesn't it?