This Mediterranean inspired green bean salad recipe is fresh, crunchy and lite while still full of flavor. It's loaded with tender green beans, briny kalamata olives, salty feta cheese, juicy cherry tomatoes and a zingy lemon dressing that is drizzled overtop.
Why This Green Bean recipe is the Best!
This is not your typical boring can of plain green beans. This delicious recipe is bursting with Mediterranean flavors. While being holiday worthy, the best part is that it is easy to make so that it's perfect for any time of the year.
These green beans are only cooked for a few short minutes and then chilled in ice water. This process is called blanching and it will keep these beans very crispy!
green beans- fresh green beans are a must in this recipe. Buy string beans and trim the ends. Follow the steps for blanching for crisp, crunchy green beans. Do not substitute canned of frozen green beans for this recipe!
kalamata olives- are a variety of black olive that is grown in Greece. Look for jarred olives that have the pits removed.
feta cheese- is a salty cheese originating from Greece. It is sold either in a block or crumbled form. Feta pairs well with the fresh vegetables.
cherry tomatoes- I love the flavor of cherry or grape tomatoes but any fresh tomato will work in this recipe. If using larger tomatoes you may want to cut them into quarters.
olive oil- use a good quality extra virgin olive oil that has a great flavor. Because this dressing has minimal ingredients it's important we use the best quality ingredients.
To make the Mediterranean green beans we need to start by blanching the beans. This is a very easy process and will insure your green beans have a great crunch and are not overcooked and mushy.
Start by placing a large pot of salted water on the stove top and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up rinse the beans and trim the ends. You can also cut the beans in half if you want a smaller fork-sized bite.
When the water is boiling add the beans and set a timer for 3 minutes. Once the beans have boiled for the allotted 3 minutes, get a large bowl of ice water ready and plunge beans into the bowl. This will stop the cooking process and leave you with crisp beans that are still a vibrant green color.
After the green beans are chilled remove from the ice bath and transfer to a paper towel to pat dry.
While the green beans are chilling, mix together the salad dressing ingredients. The best way to do this is to use a mason jar or some other container with a tight-fitting lid. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice right into the jar. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Once the green beans are cool add them to a large mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients.
If serving right away go ahead and drizzle with the dressing. Toss to coat the veggies with the dressing.
- To quickly trim green beans line them up in a row on your cutting board and cut the ends with a knife, trimming off both ends. you can also cut in half for an easier bite sized piece.
- Blanching is a process of quickly cooking the green bean in boiling water and then transferring to ice water to stop the cooking process. This quick cooking time will ensure a crunchy bean.
How to Serve
This is the perfect side dish to serve along side any chicken, seafood or beef dish. You could even serve this as a light vegetarian lunch with a piece of crusty bread or pita bread.
Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
Substitutions and Variations
Kalamata olives are my favorite variety, however you can use black olives, green olives or a combination of different varieties.
I love the flavor of fresh herbs in salads but you can use dried if you prefer.
While I like canned tomatoes for certain recipes, fresh tomatoes work best in this recipe!
This Mediterranean green bean salad is a great way to use those summer vegetables in your garden or from the local farmers market. You can add chopped onion, red bell peppers or zucchini.
Make Ahead Tips
You can put everything together ahead of time by blanching the green beans, adding the olives, tomatoes and feta cheese to a large bowl. Mix together the dressing and wait to add to the green beans until you are ready to serve. The reason I suggest this is because the acid from the red wine vinegar will change the color of the green beans from their beautiful bright green color.
If making ahead, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Keep the dressing in a separate container. If the olive oil solidifies leave out at room temperature for a few minutes in order for the ingredients to mix together.
Looking for Other Delicious Side Dishes? Try These!
Mediterranean Green Beans with Lemon Dressing
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 4 ounces feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
- 2 tablespoons lemon, fresh squeezed
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
- Add water to a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Rinse and trim the ends of the green beans.
- When the water comes to a boil add the green beans. Time for 3 minutes.
- Get a large bowl of ice water ready to chill green beans.
- When 3 minutes is up strain the beans from boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath.
- Mix together the dressing ingredients while green beans are chilling. Add to a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine.
- Once green beans are chilled remove from ice water and transfer to paper towels to pat dry.
- Add the green beans, olives, tomatoes and feta cheese to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with lemon dressing. Toss well to coat.
- This can be served immediately or chilled for several hours before serving. *See notes.