Nick’s Beans is the Side Dish for Summer

Traditional baked beans are synonymous with summer cookouts – but they are filled with sugar. On Memorial Day, I bypassed the baked beans, instead opting to make Nick Anthe’s Beans, an appealing side dish that is naturally much lower in sugar than baked beans, requires no cooking and can be made (way) ahead.

The bean dish comes by way of the beloved restauranteur Nick Anthe, who ran a classy establishment during Akron, Ohio’s heyday as the Rubber Capital of the World. Nick Anthe’s  had dim lighting, maroon upholstered banquettes and white table linens. Anthe, wearing a suit, black glasses and charm, was always at his restaurant, greeting customers.  A night at Nick’s was a special Saturday evening out.

A Odd, Delicious Side Dish

While waiting for steak or seafood, diners would be served a cold dish of Nick’s beans along with bread and butter. The dish, which seemed odd but was delicious – consisted of cold kidney beans, sweet pickle, celery, onion and mayo. A diner had to be careful not to overdo on the beans in order to save room for the entree.

Anthe and his restaurant are long gone, but his bean recipe is still popular: A local high-end deli, which makes Nick Anthe’s beans a few times a week, frequently sells out. Often, I have left the deli empty handed –  from now on I’m going to make the beans myself.

Protein- and Fiber Packed

Nick’s beans are good for those who watch their blood sugar and/or weight and want a festive side dish. Beans are one of the “good” carbs, filled with protein and fiber, both of which slow down blood sugar metabolism and promote a feeling of fullness. Eat Nick’s Beans at a cookout or picnic, and you won’t have quite as much room for chips, pasta salad or brownies. (For those who like to camp, the sturdy beans are great to take along in a cooler or fridge.)

While you can Google “Nick’s Beans” and find recipes, they sometimes call for chopped Spanish olives, a horrifying error.  The correct recipe, which calls for chopped Spanish onion, is from Jane Snow Cooks. Snow, now retired, was the terrific longtime food editor at the Akron Beacon Journal.


– Don’t worry about the addition of sweet pickle; it adds only 2 grams of carbs per serving.
– The recipe calls for white pepper, but I substituted freshly ground black pepper because that’s what I had on hand. It was still delicious.
– Sub reduced fat mayo or Miracle Whip for regular mayo

– Even people who usually aren’t crazy about sweet pickles often really like this recipe.

– To save last minute prep time, make Nick Anthe’s Beans a couple of days ahead of serving.

Nick Anthe’s Beans

A fiber- and protein-filled side dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 15


  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 small bowl


  • 5 Cups cooked red kidney beans, drained and rinsed use best quality canned beans as they are more likely to retain shape; freshly cooked are a great substitute.
  • 3/4 Cup diced Celery
  • 3/4 Cup diced Spanish onions
  • 1 Cup diced sweet pickles compare brands, opt for brand with lowest sugar
  • 1/2 Cup mayonnaise (or to taste) Reduced fat mayo is OK; do not use nonfat mayo; Miracle Whip is OK
  • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle juice
  • 1 Tsp white pepper can reduce or omit pepper; black pepper is fine if you don’t have white
  • 1/2 Tsp salt


  • In a small bowl, mix mayo with celery, onion, sweet pickle, mayo, salt and pepper.
    Place beans in large bowl. Add mixture from small bowl, stirring very gently to mix well.
    Refrigerate for up to three days. Before serving, gently mix beans to make sure dressing is evenly mixed.
Keyword high fiber, high protein
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating