Balsamic Green Bean Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. + chilling
This cold green bean salad makes the perfect side dish, starring green beans, a simple vinaigrette and feta cheese.

Updated: May 10, 2024

There’s nothing better than fresh green beans in the spring or summer. But thanks to a quick blanch and simple balsamic vinaigrette, this green bean salad can be served as a crisp side dish any time of year.

Even when green beans aren’t technically in season, this salad brings out the subtle, fresh flavors of fresh beans. It comes together in a matter of minutes with a few ingredients, like onion, tomatoes and feta. Dress it up or down, serve it a picnic or backyard barbecue or at the holiday table. It’s one of those easy salad recipes you’ll turn to again and again.

Ingredients for Green Bean Salad

  • Green beans: For most green bean recipes, where the green beans are the star, use fresh green beans with some snap. Look for beans that don’t come pre-cut—they’ll taste better and last longer. When you trim green beans, make sure not to cut off too much of the bean itself.
  • Olive oil: In a recipe with a short ingredient list, especially a fresh salad, opting for the best of each ingredient makes a difference. Look for an extra-virgin olive oil, which is made to higher standards than simple olive oil. I prefer EVOO with a bright and peppery flavor, but they can also be buttery. Check out our Test Kitchen’s picks for the best olive oil brands.
  • Balsamic vinegar: A little bit of this special ingredient goes a long way, so spring for the good stuff. The silky, sweet flavor of balsamic marries with the acidity of the lemon juice. You can swap in another vinegar but know it will completely change the salad’s flavor. Fresh apple cider vinegar or even flavored balsamic vinegar are delicious, just very different.
  • Lemon juice: Although you use balsamic for the vinaigrette, a touch of lemon juice adds a lovely zing to the fresh, crispy green beans. Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice when possible. Store-bought works, but taste it to ensure it’s the right balance.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper boost the flavor of the vinaigrette.
  • Onion: Red onion adds the final bit of bite to this beautiful salad. You can omit it if you or your guests avoid raw onion due to dietary restrictions or personal preference. Or make pickled red onions to dull their strong flavor.
  • Tomatoes: There’s nothing like fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh green beans together. The way that the tomato juice mixes into the dressing and adds that extra boost of flavor is just magical.


Step 1: Boil the beans

Place beans in a 6-quart stockpot, then add water to cover them fully. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. While the beans are cooking, fill a bowl with ice water. When they’re done, remove the beans and immediately place them in the ice water. Drain the beans and pat dry.

Editor’s Tip: Adding the beans to ice water stops them from overcooking and preserves their fresh, crispy flavor. If you want even crispier green beans, you can blanch them in boiling water for three to five minutes, and then submerge in ice water to stop the cooking. Here’s everything you need to know about how to blanch vegetables.

Step 2: Dress the vegetables

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, mustard and pepper. Drizzle over the beans and toss to coat them fully. Add the onion and toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour.

Step 3: Finish the salad

A plate of balsamic green bean salad on a tableTMB Studio

Add the chopped onion to the green beans and toss to coat. Just before serving, stir in the tomatoes and cheese.

Recipe Variations

  • Try different seasonings: If you want to try something different, use a za’atar seasoning or a lemon-pepper blend instead of, or in addition to, the garlic powder and ground mustard.
  • Use a different vinegar: Swap out the balsamic to introduce a lighter, less intense version of this cold green bean salad. Fresh apple cider vinegar would be delicious.
  • Choose another cheese: Swap the feta cheese for fresh mozzarella and add some fresh basil for a fun twist on a traditional Caprese salad. The fresh green beans will work perfectly with the fresh cheese.
  • Make a salade Nicoise: By simply adding some high-quality canned tuna, a few cooked potatoes and a hard-boiled egg, you’ve just turned this side dish into a dinner party-worthy main, similar to this asparagus Nicoise salad. Serve it with a baguette and chilled white wine.
  • Add more vegetables: Boost your veggie quotient by adding cucumbers, carrots and fresh parsley, like in this fresh green bean salad. Or try some chopped radicchio or hearty greens like black kale.

How to Store Green Bean Salad

Store leftover green bean salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to five days. Note that, because of the dressing, the beans will start to lose their crispy texture, so if you want to enjoy this salad while they still have some crunch, eat it within one day.

Can you make green bean salad ahead of time?

Absolutely. It’s easy to prep all of the individual ingredients and components ahead of time so that this salad comes together quickly before dinner. Simply cook the green beans, then refrigerate them once cool for up to five days. Cut the onions and tomatoes, and store them in an airtight container for up to two days in the refrigerator. Store the dressing in an airtight container on the counter one day before making your salad. When you’re ready to serve the salad, mix everything up, add the cheese and serve.

Green Bean Salad Tips

A plate of balsamic green bean salad with fork and knifeTMB Studio

How do you trim green beans for a salad?

Snapping off the end of each green bean may seem nostalgic and romantic. Instead, try trimming a bunch in seconds. Gather the green beans in a small pile, lining up the tips on one side as best you can. Use a chef’s knife to cut off the tips, flip the pile over and do the same on the other side.

What do you serve with green bean salad?

This fresh green bean salad perfectly contrasts with flavorful pasta recipes. Make a well-rounded dinner with something like Greek spaghetti and a toasted baguette.

Watch how to Make Balsamic Green Bean Salad

Balsamic Green Bean Salad

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 16 servings (3/4 cup each).


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese


  1. Place beans in a 6-qt. stockpot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook, covered, 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately place in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, mustard and pepper. Drizzle over beans. Add onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. Just before serving, stir in tomatoes and cheese.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 77 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 112mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Serve up those green beans in a whole new way–with a green bean salad recipe! The tangy flavors and crunch of these balsamic green beans complement any special meal or holiday potluck. —Megan Spencer, Farmington Hills, Michigan