Green Bean Salad

It’s official. I am addicted to this salad. Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself craving a salad made with fresh, crisp-tender green beans, feta cheese, bacon, tomatoes and a simple balsamic dressing. I kid you not, this salad has completely and utterly won me over. In fact, I have already made a personal commitment to plant an entire acre of green beans in my garden next year (since finding them fresh in the grocery store where I live is a tad bit tricky, which kind of kills me because I never thought I’d live in a place where finding fresh green beans – not guava fruit or lychee nuts or kimchee but – is hit and miss).

My friend-through-blogging, Kira (same one who sent me the other-worldly 30-second chocolate turtle cookies), sent me this recipe and since green beans have been left out a bit on my blog, I thought it only fair that I give it a try and hopefully come out with a green bean winner.

Um, it’s the best green-bean-thing to ever pass my lips. Easily.

Green Bean Salad

Here’s a little tip, there’s this little window where a green bean is perfectly cooked – too soon and it will taste pithy and crunchy, too long and it will be mushy and fit for baby food. You are going for deliciously crisp-tender. The trick is plunging the green beans in ice water after they are done cooking to stop the cooking process and retain the pretty green color. Plus, when you do that, you’ll totally feel like a professional tv chef because really, who plunges cooked vegetables in ice water baths on a regular basis? (If you do, please know I’m bowing to your feet this very minute.) Oh, and also, feel free to cut the green beans into smaller pieces if you like. Personally, I kind of liked them all rustic and unwieldy. It’s a pretty salad, no?

Clearly we don’t eat enough green beans around here because when I served this to the fam, my kids were fighting over the last green beans lingering on the tray and I was looking at Brian, like, “Really? Who knew?” Looks like the green bean is the popular kid in town these days. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the salad has a healthy amount of bacon and feta to help things along. And the dressing? Oh. So bright and fresh and flavorful. The fact that I made this salad twice in one week and am looking for reasons to make it again should easily speak to the fact that you really should make this too.

One Year Ago: Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark
Two Years Ago: Perfect Turkey Burgers with Romaine and Carrot Slaw
Three Years Ago: Pesto Bowties with Feta and Tomatoes

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

The desired tenderness of the green beans is a personal preference so check them often while cooking to make sure they don't overcook (or stay too crunchy). Even though the leftovers of this salad don't look quite as appealing (the dressing softens everything up and cold bacon looks a little gnarly), it definitely ranks up there with my favorite leftovers to snatch at lunchtime.


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed if desired
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2-3 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 6-8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Cook green beans until tender, 5-10 minutes. While they cook, prepare a large bowl with an ice water bath. Immediately drain the beans into a colander (or scoop them out with a slotted spoon) and place the drained beans in the ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking. This will keep them bright green and perfectly tender.
  2. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Toss them in a bowl with the tomatoes.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the green beans and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and chill for at least an hour or up to 3 hours before ready to serve.
  4. Stir in the feta cheese and bacon right before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: tweaked slightly from a recipe sent to me by Kira W. (thanks, Kira, my life has been changed forever!)

36 Responses to Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

  1. Jane says:

    This is the umpteenth time I have made these. They work really well for parties because everything can be made ahead and dressed just before serving. Thanks for a great recipe!-

  2. Jill says:

    I made this last christmas and it was a huge hit! So good!! Making it again for thanksgiving!

  3. Amber k. says:

    This is so simple and delicious it’s crazy!!!! I think it tastes better the 2nd day cold after soaking up all the dressing…..I always make extra so I can have leftovers!

  4. Jen says:

    Hi, Could I make this the night before for a party? I don’t want it to be soggy, but I don’t want to make it the day of the party either?

    • Mel says:

      Jen – I think all the ingredients could be prepped, stored separately and tossed an hour or so before the party (tossing everything together a day in advance might make the beans a bit soft in texture – only because I’ve noticed that from the leftovers).

      • Jane says:

        I made this for a BIG party. I prepped everything the day before and assembled mid-afternoon on party day. Served at room temperature. I also eliminated the bacon because several guests are vegetarian. A hit!

  5. Kami says:

    These green beans look amazing! I cannot wait to try this recipe out. Yay!

  6. Bobbiey\ says:

    I make this but use small sticks of salami and provolone cheese instead of the bacon and feta. I also add some diced red onion. This is such a good side dish for any pot luck dinner.

  7. Shannon says:

    This was very good. I planned it using your side dish menu planner. We had it along side marsala chicken. Everyone liked it, even the kids! To quote my husband “if you have to eat green beans, this is a good way to have them”.

  8. Anne says:

    I don’t usually keep fresh lemons on hand but always have limes. Could you sub the lemon juice with lime? Or maybe another kind of vinegar?

  9. Sheree says:

    Made this last night as a side to your wonderful Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice (which we love). I made it without the feta, since my husband and son are not such big fans. This green bean salad was delicious! (I can’t imagine my children fighting over any veggies, but I wish!) I usually only make plain, steamed veggies, but I think this is the way I’ll be making green beans from now on. Yum! Maybe I’ll try the mild Italian feta sometime.

  10. Debbie says:

    I saw this the day you posted and ran out to get the ingredients. I agree I never would have thought twice about this salad but you never fail me so I had to try. My family LOVED it, even my 8 year old veggie hater! He actually ate it without dunking the beans in ketchup. This is a keeper!

  11. Heather says:

    Made this tonight. I only had one pound of green beans, so I threw in a chopped cucumber as well to bulk it out. Absolutely delicious! Definitely needs to be repeated.

  12. Michelle M says:

    Umm, hello, these were awesome! Between my husband and myself we ate an entire pound of green beans (plus the extra goodies.) Next BBQ, I am bringing this and no one will be able to stop me!

  13. pamela says:

    I made this last night (using TJs frozen haricot verts), and I think I ate about a pound of it at one sitting. SO GOOD. I added some slivered almonds to it, and I seriously could not stop eating it. Delish! A great healthy side dish for BBQ parties, too!

  14. Kira says:

    Can’t wait to dunk the beans in the ice water! You know how to perfect every recipe! It is so delicious and refreshing.

  15. Rachel Russell says:

    Made and loved!! Thanks!!

  16. Melissa C says:

    is that you in the spoon? lol

  17. Jennifer G. says:

    I have 6 green bean plants that survived the Colorado hail storms. As soon as they are ready to harvest this is the first thing I’m making! Beautiful.

  18. Amy says:

    I have a similar recipe I have been using for years, and it calls for minced mint leaves. Delicious! In addition to the other ingredients in this salad, I bet a little mint would add a whole new layer of flavor. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks, Mel!

  19. Jackie Gonzales says:

    I JUST finished the last of this salad…OMG! It’s so good! My hubby and kids weren’t huge fans, but that’s great because it means more for me 🙂

  20. Kim in MD says:

    I am seriously drooling over this salad and it’s only 8:15 a.m.! I am making this for dinner tonight, with a side of meat for my husband!

  21. I LOVE this! I have so many green beans in my garden right now that I was just trying to figure out what to do with them all. I love green beans and bacon and green beans and tomatoes. I’ve never put them together and have NEVER thought to dress them with balsamic dressing. Can’t wait to try it!

  22. Thank you for a tip about a trik with iced water. It looks like a refreshing meal for a hot day.

  23. Becca says:

    Mel, this looks lovely and delicious! I think I’ll make it for a potluck barbecue this weekend. If I’m not the hugest of feta fans, should I be brave and try it here or is there an obvious substitution that would still work with the recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Becca – well, I think feta is amazing in this but I do love feta so if you are not a fan, maybe try another type of crumbly cheese. Have you seen the cheese called “Italian feta”? I know Bel Gioso has it under their brand. It crumbles JUST like feta but has a very mild, mozzarella-type taste. I’ve seen it in the gourmet cheese section of the grocery store.

  24. Sheila says:

    I was a little disappointed when I eagerly booted up Mels Kitchen Cafe to see Snapshot Saturday only to discover a recipe. I quickly got over my disappointment though upon reading and reviewing the recipe. This looks delicious with the added nutritional benefit of fresh vegetables! Thank you, once again, Mel for bringing “tried and true” recipes into your blog families’ lives. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I hope the remodeling is right on schedule.

  25. Kelly says:

    YUM! I want some right now. Nice photography too.

  26. Kimberly Christiansen says:

    This looks so yummy and fresh! Two of our neighbors brought tomatoes over to us because they have tomatoes coming out of their ears. Guess who has then coming out of their ears now. LOL But thanks to them I will be making this yummy dish. 🙂

  27. Ruth says:

    This salad looks so, so good!! The red, the green, the white. AND, the BACON. It screams of all things summer. Thanks for posting this recipe. I bet you can guess what we are having for dinner tonight. In regards to green beans, it is interesting to learn that they are not always readily available in Minnesota. It seems they are a staple of life here in AL. I take them for granted, but I never get tired of the fresh ones.

  28. Becky says:

    My neighbor just brought us some green beans and I have some grape tomatoes on the counter! Looks like I was meant to make this tonight 😉

  29. Rachel Cooks says:

    These look amazing! I love sprucing up vegetables.

  30. Carrie says:

    Looks fantastic! Thanks for the healthy idea and for a way to use up all the green beans from my mother’s garden!

  31. oh man! I saw this recipe in an old cooking magazine a few months back…like the exact same thing! Ive been meaning to make it forever, I even cut it out! haha You’ve pushed me to do so! Love all these flavors!

  32. So simple, so delicious! I can’t wait to make this!

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