Warm or cold, this fresh green bean salad is the perfect veggie side dish change up any time of the year!
Our summer happy place
We endure a pretty long cold season in order to enjoy quite possibly the most amazing place in the world to spend summer – the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan! There is really nothing like it! We have finally hit a warm spurt and it doesn’t even matter that the lake hasn’t warmed up yet! My crew is all in, and we are ready for a few months of sandy barefoot days.
A summer produce favorite
Green beans are one of the only garden items I can grow like weeds. Our dune-sandy soil is so hard for growing some things, but green beans – I can do that! The girls adore green beans too, so it really works out! As your summer green bean harvest starts coming in, or you see piles of them at the local farmer’s market, grab a big bag full, and try out this fun veggie side with your summer BBQ, or a big juicy burger!
Summer is definitely not the time to be spending loads of time in the kitchen. We only get a few months out of the year to really enjoy all that warm sunshine, so I want to be outside as much of our summer days as possible! This summer salad can be put together in 10 minutes and just hang out in the fridge to be your easy lunch or dinner side dish all week. A simple pound of summer green beans, pretty cherry tomatoes, and a handful of walnuts get tossed with a pantry friendly dressing that shakes right up in a little jar. It doesn’t get much simpler than that – perfect for summer!
Green bean steaming method options
For this green bean salad, I very lightly steam the green beans. You could potentially serve them raw, but I do find that the dressing soaks in a bit better and is better over the course of days if you give the green beans a light steam, or at the very least, a quick blanch. Here are some steaming options:
- For the INSTANT POT put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot, put the green beans in the steamer basket inside the pot, put the IP lid on, and seal the valve. Press the STEAM feature and bring the time down to “0” minutes. The IP will come to pressure in about 5 minutes in and then be done since you set the time to 0. Release the valve immediately.
- For an ELECTRIC STEAMER, or if using a STEAMER BASKET OVER BOILING WATER, put the green beans in the steamer and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- You could also blanch the green beans if you really want a very crisp bean salad.
Fuss free prep
10 minutes! I promise! Maybe even less if your veggies are already washed up! While your green beans have a quick steam, you’ll make the dressing. You probably already have all of the ingredients right in your pantry to shake up the dressing in the jar. Once the dressing is ready, the cherry tomatoes get sliced, and the walnuts can get a quick chop. Then you’ll toss the lightly steamed green beans with the dressing, tomatoes, and walnuts, and you’re done!
Serve it cold or warm!
If you happen to get a chance, enjoy a few bites of your freshly tossed green bean salad while it’s warm! Absolute heaven! If it feels like 100 degrees outside, I’m sure the chilled salad fit your menu the best, but if you happen to change up your meal plan in the winter, you can enjoy the cozy warmth of the salad right out of the steamer.
Nut free friends, and other swaps!
If you are nut free, swap out the nuts for sunflower seeds to add some texture to the salad. I also think that if you have the time to give the walnuts or sunflower seeds a quick 2 minute toast in the saute pan, you’ll really enjoy the flavor that brings. If you are a household that can do dairy, parmesan is a fun addition. And if your kiddos are more Ranch style salad kids, I say swap the dressing for your favorite healthy Ranch if that will make them more willing to try a new salad – you’re still a fantastic momma in my book! You can try my classic Ranch, or, if you are dairy free, use this Paleo Ranch or this better choice store bought Ranch.
Fresh Green Bean Salad
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp juice from a lime about 1 lime
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2-3https://amzn.to/3wfuzVW tsp raw honey
- ½ – 1 tsp sea salt to taste start small and you can always add more
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ – ½ tsp dried basil use 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil if you have it
For the green bean salad:
- 1 lb fresh green beans trimmed and cut in half
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup walnuts coarsely chopped
- 1 recipe of the dressing from above
- Put all of the dressing ingredients into a small mason jar with a lid and shake vigorously for 1 minute until combined. Set the dressing in the fridge to chill while you make the rest of the salad.
- Steam the green beans to crisp tender. You could do this a few different ways. For the INSTANT POT put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot, put the green beans in the steamer basket inside the pot, put the IP lid on, and seal the valve. Press the STEAM feature and bring the time down to “0” minutes. The IP will come to pressure in about 5 minutes in and then be done since you set the time to 0. Release the valve immediately. For an ELECTRIC STEAMER, or if using a STEAMER BASKET OVER BOILING WATER, put the green beans in the steamer and set the timer for 5 minutes. You could also blanch the green beans if you really want a very crisp bean salad.
- Once the green beans are lightly steamed, add them to a medium serving bowl, and toss with the cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and dressing. You can use half the dressing if you want it lightly dressed, or all of it – I would recommend starting with half to see how you like it! Sometimes I use about half and keep the other half for a salad later in the week. Keep in mind that the dressing will soak into the veggies a little bit too. You can eat the salad warm, or chill in the fridge.
- This salad stays good in the fridge for 5-7 days. Make some up on a busy week to pull from all week long!
- You can use a tasteless healthy oil, such as avocado oil, if your crew doesn’t love the taste of olive oil.
- This salad and the dressing double up for a crowd very nicely. This amount feeds my family of 5 for a side dish plus a little leftover.
- Balsamic vinegar makes a delicious swap for red wine vinegar to change things up. White wine vinegar is another way to change it up a bit.
- Lemon or lime juice will work but I do love the lime the best!