Our tender-crisp green bean salad with a creamy mustard dressing that coats the beans to perfection is the easiest and tastiest salad of its kind.
Learn how to make it in 15 minutes with fresh and simple ingredients. Serve it for the holidays with family and friends or as a tasty everyday side.
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Do you know what the problem with most green bean salads is? The green beans don't taste like anything because the dressing won't stick.
With our salad, you won't have this problem. We tested several dressings and found thick and creamy mustard and olive oil dressing combined with a touch of crumbled feta cheese to be the solution to all our non-stick green beans problems.
The dressing sticks to the green beans wonderfully, and your green bean salad will be the tastiest you've ever had. Vegans can easily replace the feta with toasted pine nuts.
Our green bean salad recipe is straightforward, with a few easy-to-find ingredients. First, boil the fresh green beans in salted water for 6 minutes.
Then cool them down in a large bowl of ice water or under cold tap water.
Now toss them in a tasty mustard dressing made with dijon mustard, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped shallot, and red pepper flakes.
Finally, add fresh basil, crumbled feta, halved cherry tomatoes, and slivered almonds. In just about 15 to 20 minutes, you've got a delicious and super tasty side dish everyone will love.
Fresh green beans (also known as snap beans, string beans, French beans, or haricot verts) are the main ingredient in this recipe.
Make sure to get the freshest you can find so they'll stay nice and crisp once cooked. The freshest green beans snap easily as you bend them.
To save time when making this recipe, you can get already trimmed beans. They are available in some supermarkets; however, they often cost a little more and are not always available.
We usually trim the beans ourselves; it only takes 5 minutes if you follow our method on a cutting board with a knife. We'll explain it later.
If you want to make this recipe in winter, you can use frozen green beans, although they won't be as crisp.
We add cherry tomatoes for color and sweetness. You can add other types of small tomatoes too, based on what you find in your supermarket.
A little feta cheese adds so much flavor and creaminess to this salad.
We think feta is much better than parmesan cheese because feta melts with the dressing. It gets all creamy and sticks to the green beans making them super flavorful.
I couldn't find a suitable vegan cheese replacement for this recipe, so to make it vegan, I'd recommend adding toasted pine nuts.
Toasted slivered or shaved almonds add extra crunch to this marinated green bean salad. Also, their flavor matches the green beans very well.
You can substitute toasted pine nuts or crushed walnuts for the almonds.
Fresh basil brings everything together, and it's a perfect match with green beans, tomatoes, almonds, and feta.
If you can't find basil, you can replace it with fresh mint, parsley, or dill.
This mustard dressing is thicker, creamier, bolder, tangier, and tastier than your usual mustard dressing because it has to stick and add flavor to the boiled beans.
To make it, you'll need:
- Mustard: American mustard or Dijon mustard both work.
- Vinegar: red wine vinegar is best, but white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar also work. We don't recommend balsamic vinegar for the dressing; it's not sharp enough. However, we have a recipe for the variations with balsamic.
- Olive oil: olive oil or extra-virgin are both ok.
- Shallots: chopped shallots add extra tanginess to the dressing and are delicious with the green beans. You can substitute red onion or green onions for the shallots.
- Red pepper flakes are optional, but if you like some heat, add them.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper: to add taste.
Step 1: Trim the Green Beans
The easiest and fastest way to trim green beans is to take a bunch, align them on a cutting board, and chop their tip off with a chef's knife. Then turn them around, realign them and chop.
Put the trimmed green beans in a colander and rinse them with water.
Step 2: Blanch the Green Beans
Boil the green beans in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on their size and freshness.
Drain and plunge into a large bowl of ice water or place them under cold running water to halt the cooking process.
Note: blanching will keep the green beans tender-crisp and bright green. If you like softer green beans, boil them for longer. However, they'll lose their bright green color and become dull dark green.
Step 3: Make Mustard Dressing
To a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the mustard dressing: mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped shallots, and red pepper flakes, and whisk well.
Note: don't worry if the dressing looks thicker than a standard mustard vinaigrette; that's how it should be. It'll stick wonderfully to the wet green beans.
Step 4: Toss Green Bean Salad
Drain the green beans and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Add halved cherry tomatoes and chopped basil and toss well until beans are fully coated in the dressing.
Now crumble in half of the feta cheese and give it another quick toss.
Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining feta and toasted slivered almonds.
Tip: you can toast slivered almonds on a non-stick pan on medium heat.
It also goes well with many of our easy plant-based dinners, such as:
- Garlic and oil pasta (pasta aglio olio)
- Easy marinated tofu
- 20-minute chickpea salad
- Eggplant caponata
- Lentil soup
This green salad recipe is also ideal for a side dish to freshen up a holiday lunch, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can use frozen ones if you can't find fresh green beans in winter.
Vegan green bean salad
To make a vegan green beans salad, you must keep out the feta and add toasted pine nuts instead, about 2 to 3 tablespoons.
The toasted pine nuts add flavor and healthy fats to the salad, making it super yummy.
Italian green bean salad
Italian green beans salad is a simple and light side dish you can make with boiled green beans seasoned in crushed garlic, mint, and balsamic vinegar.
To make it, boil trimmed fresh green beans in salted water for 13 minutes, or until soft.
Drain them and transfer them onto a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a crushed garlic clove, ½ teaspoon of salt, a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, and a handful of fresh chopped mint (or mentuccia) leaves.
Toss them around and let them sit at room temperature for 15 - 30 minutes before serving. Optionally you can add a squeeze of lemon juice on top and some grated lemon zest if you like.
The warm green beans will absorb the flavor of the garlic and mint, and you'll have a delicious Italian green bean salad.
Tip: the Italians like their green beans soft, not tender-crisp. If you don't like soft green beans, follow the blanching method described in our recipe to get a crisp-tender texture.
Store green bean salad leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The next day their texture will change slightly, and they'll be less crisp.
Boiled or blanched green beans tend to have little flavor. We find that the best way to add flavor is to toss them in a thick mustard dressing that sticks to their surface, making them super delicious. Of course, adding a little feta cheese helps too. Check out our recipe below for ingredients.
Yes, you can serve green beans cold in a salad.
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Green Bean Salad
- 1½ pounds green beans
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 3½ ounces feta cheese or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup fresh basil
FOR MUSTARD DRESSING
- 2½ tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large shallot
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
STEP 1: TRIM THE GREEN BEANS
- The easiest and fastest way to trim green beans is to take a bunch, align them on a cutting board, and chop their tip off with a chef's knife. Then turn them around, realign them and chop.
- Put the trimmed green beans in a colander and rinse them with water.
STEP 2: BLANCH THE GREEN BEANS
- Boil the green beans in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on their size and freshness.Drain and plunge into a large bowl of ice water or place them under cold running water to halt the cooking process.Note: blanching will keep the green beans tender-crisp and bright green. If you like softer green beans, boil them for longer. However, they'll lose their bright green color and become dull dark green.
STEP 3: MAKE MUSTARD DRESSING
- To a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the mustard dressing: mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped shallots, and red pepper flakes, and whisk well.Note: don't worry if the dressing looks thicker than a standard mustard vinaigrette; that's how it should be. It'll stick wonderfully to the wet green beans.
STEP 4: TOSS GREEN BEAN SALAD
- Drain the green beans and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Add halved cherry tomatoes and chopped basil and toss well until beans are fully coated in the dressing.
- Now crumble in half of the feta cheese and give it another quick toss.Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining feta and toasted slivered almonds.Tip: you can toast slivered almonds on a non-stick pan on medium heat.
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