You’ll never look at green beans again without thinking of this spectacular Mediterranean style green bean salad. There’s nothing ho-hum about this salad!
Why you’ll love it: It’s the perfect way to showcase summer green beans!
How long it takes: 25 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, bowls
Bean salad, yawn….Big deal, huh? Usually a bunch of cold canned beans with a sour vinegar dressing, it may be called three-bean salad, or five-bean salad or whatever. It’s often a cafeteria main-stay, because it keeps forever. Or maybe it lasts forever because nobody eats it.
Well, wake up! This salad is a far cry from the usual. With eye-popping flavor, Mediterranean green bean salad is so fantastic, you’ll want to eat it every day.
Picture this: Crisp, bright green beans, briny burgundy-colored kalamata olives, flavor-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and crunchy toasted walnuts. Pretty great so far, right? Now imagine that topped with a perfectly balanced, garlicky, lemony vinaigrette, with flecks of fresh oregano.
Hungry yet? I know I am. Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. It’s good warm, too. Perfect with grilled salmon or chicken, or a great steak! I served it with classic spaghetti last weekend, along with toasty garlic bread, and it was totally yum.
About this salad
I bet you can hardly wait to get this salad started. It’s easy, versatile (keep reading for ways to make it your own), and … without any more delay, here we go!
As always, you’ll find the printable recipe with measurements, etc. at the end of this post.
What you need
- Green Beans (Haricot Vert): Buy slender green beans, as fresh as possible. A mix of yellow (wax) and green beans is delicious and pretty, too. Harvest a handful of each from your garden, if you’re lucky enough to have them.
- Kalamata Olives: Other types of olives would be okay, too, but we really love the flavor of kalamata.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Buy a bag of sun-dried tomatoes; they’re usually found in the produce section of your grocery store. If you can only find oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, pat them with paper towels to remove the excess oil.
- Walnuts: Toast them lightly to really bring out the nutty flavor. If you have a nut-free household like me, simply omit them. There’s plenty of flavor in this dish!
- Lemon Zest: Sprinkle the zest on the beans or mix it in the dressing.
- Homemade Oil and Vinegar Dressing: This simple dressing is made with wholesome ingredients: Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Fresh Oregano, Red Wine Vinegar, seasoned with Salt and Pepper.
How to make Mediterranean bean salad
Prep and blanch the beans. Bring water to a boil, put the beans in for a brief stint, just four or five minutes, drain, and plunge into ice water. They’ll turn a lovely bright green, crisp yet tender. Pat them dry.
Toast your walnuts in a skillet, microwave, or oven. I think the microwave is easiest. Simply spread the walnuts on a plate, and microwave in 1-minute increments, stirring, until they’re fragrant and lightly toasted.
Prepare the vinaigrette. Mince the garlic and fresh oregano, add it to the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. I like to put it all in a little jar with a tight fitting lid so I can just shake it up.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the beans and toss to coat.
If you want to make it extra impressive, arrange the green beans on a platter so they’re all going in the same direction. Looks pretty, and it’s simple to do.
Top with the olives, sun dried tomatoes, and walnuts, and sprinkle with lemon zest. Isn’t it so pretty?
Serve the bean salad right away, or refrigerate it until you’re ready. If it’s going to be a little while, reserve the walnuts and sprinkle them on right before serving.
Green beans are easy to prep. Sort beans, discarding discolored, soft, or overlarge beans. With your fingertips or a paring knife, snap off the stem end of the bean. There’s no need to remove the other end of the bean. Green beans can be left whole, cut into bite-sized pieces, or French cut (sliced lengthwise). Always wash beans with lots of cold water.
Small tender beans can be eaten raw but usually green beans are blanched before adding to a salad. Bring water to a boil, add beans for 4-5 minutes, drain and place in an ice water bath.
You’ll notice that the beans turn a beautiful bright green and will be crisp, yet tender, perfect for a salad.
Nutritionally, steaming the beans is a better option. Roasting, blanching, or stir-fry are good alternatives, too. Many of the nutrients are lost when beans are over-boiled.
I hope you try today’s recipe! There are loads of ways to add flavor to green beans. One of my favorites is so simple: after the beans are cooked, add a bit of olive oil, freshly cracked pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh dill. So good!
Be sure to keep reading for more ideas!
How to make this bean salad your own
- Omit the walnuts, or replace with pistachios or toasted almonds.
- Add sliced fresh grape tomatoes to the platter with the green beans before drizzling with vinaigrette.
- Use your favorite variety of olives or omit them.
- Top salad with a sprinkling of feta cheese.
- Substitute balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar.
- These toppings and vinaigrette would taste great on almost any vegetable. Replace the green beans with another vegetable of your choice.
Make Ahead Ideas
Blanch the green beans, arrange them on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to one day or overnight. Prepare vinaigrette and refrigerate. Toast walnuts, cool completely, and store in covered container.
It won’t take long at all to assemble the salad now!
If you have leftover salad, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. The marinated beans will discolor slightly because of the vinegar but the salad will taste great.
Make a pasta salad. Mix leftover salad with cooked, cooled pasta. Add feta cheese if desired.
More great green bean recipes
Don’t settle for plain green beans! Give those green beans a second look and try one of these recipes:
- Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Basil
- Green Beans with Lemon and Feta
- Pickled Green Beans – make them your own!
- Green Beans Almondine Recipe — a classic
- Green Beans with Bacon, Garlic, and Onion
- Green Bean Casserole Recipe (with no canned soup)
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Homemade Vegetable Soup Recipe – so good!
- Italian White Bean Salad by Eating Well
- 1 lb. thin green beans (Haricot Vert)
- ½ cup kalamata olives sliced in half if desired
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a few scoops of ice, set aside.
- Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender but still crispy; drain. Immediately plunge the green beans into the ice water bath. Allow the beans to chill for 5 minutes, drain well and pat dry.
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Arrange the green beans on a serving platter. Drizzle with the dressing then top with the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, and lemon zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Omit the walnuts, or replace with pistachios or toasted almonds.
- Add fresh sliced small tomatoes to the platter with the green beans, before drizzling with vinaigrette.
- Top salad with feta cheese or shaved Parmesan, if desired.
- Make Ahead: Blanch the green beans, arrange them on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to one day or overnight. Prepare vinaigrette and refrigerate. Toast walnuts, cool completely, and store in covered container.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.