Different kinds of beans cook at different rates, so it's best to prepare them in separate pans (working in batches if necessary). The salad can be made with just a few types instead of all five, as long as the total amount of dried beans still measures 2 1/2 cups.
For the Salad
- 1/2 cup each of five kinds of dried beans, such as cranberry, navy, giant white, cannellini, and kidney
- 5 small dried bay leaves
- 1 medium carrot, cut crosswise into 5 pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 5 pieces
- Coarse salt
- 12 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 cups very small tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the salad: Cover beans with water in separate saucepans, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour.
Drain, and return beans to their saucepans. Add a bay leaf, a piece of carrot, and a piece of celery to each pan, and cover with water by 2 inches.
Bring to a boil. Skim foam. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer vigorously until beans are tender, 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size and age of beans. Drain, and let cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add haricots verts and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Make the dressing: Whisk together vinegar and mustard. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the salad: Combine beans with haricots verts, herbs, and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing, and toss to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.