This Green & Yellow Bean Salad is an iconic recipe for me. I’ve been making it since the early 2000s, and it’s one of my favourite salads. Ever. Because, of course, green and yellow beans are among my favourite vegetables. Paired with beautifully ripened tomatoes in the summer, when both are available in local abundance, this is summer in a bowl. It’s a great dish to take to barbecues and potlucks, too. It’s a pleasure to revisit this post, first published here in 2012.
Green and Yellow Bean Salad
Who says a bean salad has to be a side dish? I made this wonderful make-ahead salad for dinner last night, and the grilled pork chop that accompanied it was more or less an afterthought. Although the recipe I based it on says that it serves six, it was the star of the meal as two healthy portions with one serving left over. In fact, that’s going to be my dinner tonight just as soon I finish writing this!
This bean salad is one of my go-to “bring a dish” recipes, and it easily expands to feed a crowd. You can serve it cold or at room temperature, which enhances its versatility. Its olive oil-based vinaigrette makes it more safely portable in hot weather than a mayonnaise or dairy-based dressing.
All aspects of this salad generate enthusiasm and appreciation, and what’s not to love? The buttery beans have a bit of crispness to them, the tomatoes are juicy and the slivers of shallot have had their bite mellowed by bathing in the dressing, which is itself subtly tangy. Although I forgot to put the basil in the batch pictured, I’ve used it many times before and enjoy the special herbaceous flavour it imparts.
And let’s not overlook that medley of colours. This Green and Yellow Bean Salad is a dish that’s as pretty to look at as it is good to eat!
Let’s Make This Salad!
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, June 2000. They describe this dish as “colourful, refreshing and delicious,” and I agree on all counts. How you trim the beans is completely up to you, but I like to keep them their full length with their little curlicue tails adding a whimsical air to the dish.
- 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
- 3/4 pound yellow beans, trimmed
- a handful or two of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 shallot, cut in half and then sliced thinly (or half a small red onion)
- small handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonaded)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the beans in a large pot of boiling water with a good tablespoon of salt until tender crisp (4 to 5 minutes; best to check at 4 minutes!). Drain, rinse with cold water and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. I put the colander into a very large bowl of ice water for this, so I don’t have to pick ice cubes out of the beans. As soon as they're cooled through, drain thoroughly and pat them dry (rolling them in a tea towel works well, too). (If you don’t plan to use them right away, you can dry them, wrap them in a tea towel, seal in a container and store in the refrigerator for up to one day.)
Combine the oil and vinegar (plus sugar, if using) in the bottom of a large serving bowl, and toss in the shallots and basil. Whisk well with a fork and add the tomatoes as you halve them. Grind in pepper to taste, stir again and then add the beans. Toss everything together until all the beans are coated with the dressing and the tomatoes, basil and shallots are happily intermingled among the beans. Serve right away, or cover and chill for at least an hour and up to 4 hours, tossing occasionally. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
Looking for More Green or Yellow Bean Ideas?
Since green beans (but not yellow beans, sigh) are one of the few vegetables all the Offspring and I agree on, there are quite a few offerings here on the blog. Truth to tell, the only recipe that truly garners their favour is their grandmother’s Belgian-Style Green Beans. If you’re looking for a complete meal salad that includes both green beans and proteins, go no further than this Green Bean, Tomato and Chickpea Salad. And, yellow beans star in one of my favourites among the soup recipes I’ve developed, this Golden Summer Soup with Turmeric and Celery Leaf.
First published 2012 07 23
Republished 2018 08 02
Republished 2020 07 19