I had a friend whose idea of green bean salad meant draining canned green beans and dousing them in bottled salad dressing. Yuck. The memory of her serving drab, soggy beans as green bean salad still makes me grimace. No need do that when a fresh, vibrant colored green bean salad is so easy to make. Serve it chilled and breathe a sigh of relief on hot summer days.
Haricot Vert: French Baby Green Beans
For my version of a green bean salad I use the tender baby green beans sometimes called by their French name, Haricot Vert. Cook just 4-5 minutes in boiling salted water followed by a plunge into ice water. This stops the cooking process and sets the color to a vibrant green.
For tomatoes, I like the sweet grape and cherry tomato varieties. Their higher sugar content makes them sweeter than regular tomatoes and wonderful to eat in salads of all kinds. These are the tomatoes that finally got me to love raw tomatoes!
For corn, I’ll grill a couple of ears then cut the kernels off the cob. If you don’t have fresh corn (or a grill), frozen corn kernels work fine, just thaw first. Lastly, add your feta. I like the tang of Greek sheep’s milk feta, but use your favorite style.
Dress the Salad: Herbed Vinaigrette
For dressing, whisk together a fresh vinaigrette. Try the recipe I posted along with grilled lemon mint chicken breast. While the the mint is refreshing, fresh oregano or thyme works well too. A half batch should be plenty.
Drizzle on your vinaigrette before serving and toss gently. This green bean salad is a great side dish for barbecued meat, poultry and fish. It’s easy and healthy for hot weather entertaining, picnics and tailgating. For an extra flourish, scatter fresh chopped mint or chives over the top before serving and pass extra vinaigrette if desired.
Green Bean Salad with Sweet Tomatoes and Grilled Corn
- 12 ounces baby green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 1/2 cups (half pound) of sweet grape or cherry tomatoes in mixed colors, halved lengthwise
- 4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 ears of corn, grilled and kernels cut from cob, or about 1/2 cut of frozen kernels, thawed
- 6-8 tablespoons lemon-mint vinaigrette (recipe here)
- Salt and pepper, to taste, plus salt for boiling the green beans
- Fresh chopped mini or chives for garnish, optional
- Ready a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. Bring a large pot of water (4-5 quarts) to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Add green beans and cook for 4-5 minutes. At 4 minutes, quickly toss one green bean into the ice water test for doneness. You want them crisp-tender. If it’s done enough for you, place the green beans in the ice water immediately to stop the cooking process and set the color. If not, cook that additional 1 minute then move to the ice bath. After a few minutes in the ice water, drain the beans and allow them to dry. At this point you can refrigerate the green beans until you are ready to serve them. You can even cook them a day ahead.
- When ready to serve, make your vinaigrette. Add the green, tomatoes, feta and corn to a large bowl. Toss with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on additional chopped fresh herbs if using. Pass more dressing at the table in case someone would like a little more.
For more good reading on summer side dishes and cooking, try these links:
Grill extra corn and try this corn chowder from Simply Recipes
Green bean and cherry tomato salad by Smitten Kitchen
Green beans: not just for Grandma’s Thanksgiving casserole, featured at Women’s Health Magazine
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