Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This fresh green bean salad with balsamic dressing is so bright and fresh and flavorful. It is the perfect summer side dish!

Fresh Green Bean Salad

It’s official.

I am addicted to this fresh green bean 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 fresh.green.beans – 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.

Fresh 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 fresh green bean salad 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

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Notes:

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.

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