This green bean salad is loaded with fresh vegetables, tofu feta cheese, topped with caramelized shallots, and toasted slivered almonds, dressed in an oil-free lemon basil dressing.
Green beans are climbing from my garden at an alarming rate. I love green beans, and garden-fresh green beans taste fabulous. So, I needed to enjoy summer's green beans; I made the best green bean salad you will ever taste. Depending on your mood and the temperature outside, serve the green bean salad recipe hot or cold. Today, I'm serving this fabulous salad cold.
Whenever I create a salad recipe, I try to combine vegetables that complement each other. But, I also focus on color to ensure I include the colors of the rainbow: the more colorful vegetables, the better the nutritional profile. And, I like to get all my nutrients in one beautiful dish.
How to Blanch Green Beans
Although steaming is always an option for cooking green beans, I chose to blanch my green beans today.
Blanching, instead of steaming, quickly cooks and tenderizes the green beans, followed by an ice water bath that stops cooking while maintaining the color of the green beans.
As a result, the green beans are crisp, tender, and bright green.
- Bring a large pot of saltwater to a boil.
- Add the green beans
- Cook for 3 minutes
- Drain and immediately place in an ice bath to stop cooking
Once the green beans are cool, drain the ice bath, and remove the ice cubes. Then, it is essential to dry the green beans, as they hold a lot of water.
The green beans highlight the recipe, adding more vegetables to make this entree salad for dinner. Although salad gets a bad rap, all salads are not created equal. This salad, for instance, is a show stopper.
So, I added hearty potatoes, tangy tomatoes, specially prepared shallots, and a few other goodies to make the green bean salad recipe a meal my family would love. So, without further ado, here are the ingredients:
- Baby potatoes (also called creamer potatoes): Baby Potatoes have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture.
- Grape tomatoes: Grape tomatoes have a thicker, meatier, and chewier texture than other tomatoes.
- Balsamic Sauteed Shallots: Shallots have a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness, and when cooked with balsamic vinegar, they are as sweet as candy.
- Toasted Slivered Blanched Almonds (optional): Toasted almonds taste fresh, nutty, and sweet --without any sugars.
- Tofu Feta Cheese: I make my own tofu feta cheese. This optional ingredient adds protein and a salty, savory component to the salad.
How to Make the Salad
Because my goal was a cold salad, I boiled my potatoes and allowed them to cool completely before cutting and adding them to the salad.
Because they are smaller, baby potatoes take less time to cook than typical potatoes. For that reason, I only had to cook them for 15 minutes.
However, one suggestion is to ensure the potatoes you use are about the same size to prevent different cooking times. For instance, boiling these potatoes only took 15 minutes before draining them and rinsing them in cold water to stop cooking.
Unlike red onions, shallots are smaller and wrapped in thin layers. Similar in taste to red onions, shallots are a bit more mild and delicate in flavor.
As a result, shallots are perfect for adding a little onion component to a salad without overpowering it.
To bring a little sweetness to the shallots, I sauteed them with a clove of garlic and a Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, which caramelizes them. Again, I cooked and refrigerated them before assembling the green bean salad.
However, the blanched, slivered almonds add a little crunch and love to the green bean salad recipe. When I was little, my mom always used to toast almonds for her green bean casserole.
So, I made garlic toasted slivered blanched almonds for my salad for an added twist.
Again, you do not need oil to toast nuts in a pan. I used raw slivered blanched almonds, my green pan, minced garlic, and garlic powder for this recipe. And, in a matter of minutes, you have delicious, crispy, slivered almonds.
Tofu Feta Cheese
Although the tofu feta cheese is optional, as are the nuts, I think it adds another layer of deliciousness to the salad.
Even though it is one of my favorite tofu recipes, the green bean salad is terrific with or without it. But, of course, I included it for tonight's dinner.
As with all salad recipes, the magic is always in the dressing. I made a lemon basil dressing using the basil from my garden with all the ingredients in mind. This dressing is perfect for my green bean salad recipe.
- Blanched Slivered Almonds: When added to dressing, raw blanched slivered almonds taste creamy with a slightly nutty flavor.
- White Vinegar: The light, balanced sweetness of white wine vinegar makes it a refreshing addition to salad dressings and soups. In addition, this vinegar is an excellent alternative to use for pickling vegetables.
- Water: The water this the dressing and acts as an emulsifier without using oil.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: I prefer fresh lemon juice over bottled juice. And, if you plan ahead, when lemons are in season, juice them and freeze them in ice cube trays to use during the winter months when lemons are so expensive.
- Garlic: Garlic tastes warm and creamy when blended into salad dressing.
- Fresh Basil: My garden is full of basil, and fresh basil is incredible in this dressing.
- Maple Syrup: Maple Syrup adds a natural sweetness to the dressing without adding sugar.
The combination of lemon, basil, white vinegar, and garlic compliments all the ingredients in the salad and the Tofu Feta Cheese.
- Choose any nut to substitute for the almonds, but cashews and macadamia nuts are the mildest choices.
- For a nut-free option, choose silken tofu or white beans as a substitute for the almonds.
- f you need a different vinegar to substitute for white vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar.
- Try date syrup or agave as a substitute for maple syrup.
Blanching is a simple and basic cooking technique that consists of plunging vegetables in a large pot of boiling salted water for just a couple of minutes, then placing the vegetables into ice water to stop the cooking process.
To blanch green beans, fill a large pot of water, set over high heat, and bring it to a boil. Salt the water (per quart of water, estimate a tablespoon of kosher salt), which will bring the green beans to life and enhance their flavor. Once the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for two to three minutes.
Garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper are all fantastic additions to make your green beans taste fresh and delicious.
- When blanching green beans, immediately transfer the beans to an already prepared ice bath. First, drain the boiling water from the green beans. Then, add the cooked green beans to the ice bath.
- If serving the salad warm, place the green beans in an ice bath briefly, drain, and add to the other salad ingredients already made.
- Toss the salad in the dressing before serving ahead of time for the flavors to develop over time, and serve the additional dressing on the side.
- Soak the almonds overnight or boil for 10 minutes if you do not have a high-quality blender. However, if you have a quality blender, skip this process.
- As a meal prep tip, cook and prepare all the vegetables and dressing ahead of time, and throw it all together the day you plan to serve the green bean salad.
Enjoy summer fresh green beans in the best green beans salad you will ever eat! Dig into the fresh taste of summer served warm or cold!
Summer Salads to Enjoy!
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Green Bean Salad
- 1 pound green beans trimmed
- 1 pound baby potatoes boiled and cut in halves
- 1 pint grape tomatoes cut in halves
- 1 shallot sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Garlic toasted slivered almonds
- ½ cup slivered blanched almonds
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Tofu Feta Cheese (optional)
- 1 recipe tofu feta cheese
Lemon Basil Dressing
- 1 recipe lemon basil dressing
Blanching the green beans
- Clean and trim green beans
- Fill a pot with water and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Bring water to a boil and add green beans.
- Cook 3 minutes, and drain green beans immediately in a colander
- Then, immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the beans from cooking.
- When green beans are cool, transfer them to a towel or paper towels to dry completely.
- Set aside.
Cooking the potatoes
- Fill a pot with cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Add baby potatoes and bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked (can be pierced with a fork)
- Because potatoes are of different sizes, time may vary.
- Drain potatoes and run cold water on them until they are cool
- Cut each potato in half.
- Cooking the shallots
- Cut the shallot into thin slices.
- Mince garlic
- Cook shallots and garlic on medium-low in a dry non-stick pan
- Add a little vegetable broth or water if it begins to stick.
- Stir continuously so as not to burn
- Add balsamic vinegar and stir until all moisture is absorbed.
- Remove from heat.
- Place in a dish in the refrigerator until assembling the salad.
- Toasting the slivered almonds (optional)
- Add minced garlic and slivered blanched almonds to a dry non-stick pan on medium-low heat.
- Add garlic powder
- Stir continuously and do not leave unattended. The nuts toast quickly, and need to be watched to not burn them. Allow them to cook for 30 seconds, then toss them around or stir.
- When all toasted, remove them from the stove and allow them to cool completely.
Tofu Feta Cheese (optional)
- Prepare the tofu feta cheese according to the recipe on this link, or omit it.
Lemon basil dressing
- Prepare the lemon basil dressing, or chooseyour favorite dressing.
- For a nut-free option, substitute almonds with silken tofu or white beasn.
- Garnish with fresh basil and capers
- For a nut-free option, substitute silken tofu or white beans in the dressing.
- Green bean salad is a gluten-free salad.
- Make the dressing ahead of time and chill so it thickens.
- Fresh basil is best, but if substituting dried basil, use half the amount because dried herbs have a much stronger flavor profile.
- For additional lemon flavor, add a teaspoon of lemon zest.
- Add additional fresh basil into the salad for extra flavor.
- Try roasted potatoes instead of boiling them.
- For a shortcut, blanch the green beans in the microwave. Wash and cut the ends off of one pound of green beans. Add one cup of water and cover with plastic wrap. Set power on high and microwave for two to three minutes before stirring and microwaving for another two to three minutes. Drain and immediately dunk the green beans in ice water.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂