Green Bean and Potato Salad with Pesto

This green bean and potato salad is tossed with freshly made basil pesto, tomato, green beans, and toasted almonds. An excellent summer side dish.

A wooden bowl of green bean and potato salad with pesto, almonds, and tomato

Pasta may be the most classic destination for pesto, although it’s definitely not the only one. Here we swap pasta for potatoes for a light and lovely pesto potato salad. Originally published July 15, 2008.Renee Schettler Rossi

How Is Pesto Traditionally Used?

The Italian word pesto translates roughly as “pounded” and typically refers to any food mashed in a mortar. But the best-known pesto is a sauce made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and grated cheese. It’s traditionally the sauce for a pasta dish that also includes green beans and potatoes, but here the pasta has been left out. In another departure from tradition, dry-roasted almonds are used in place of pine nuts.

Green Bean, Tomato, and Potato Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped, unsalted, dry-roasted almonds
  • 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) chunks
  • 12 ounces slender green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (25-mm) lengths
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges, for garnish

Directions

  • 1. Place the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons almonds in a large mortar. Pound with the pestle to a smooth paste. Gradually add the basil leaves while pounding, adding more only after each batch has been reduced to a paste. This should take only 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 2. When all of the basil leaves are pounded to a smooth paste, gradually add both cheeses, stirring with the pestle to blend them with the basil paste. Then drizzle in the olive oil with one hand while stirring and pounding with the pestle in the other hand until the mixture is smooth.
  • 3. Fill a 6-quart Dutch oven or other large, wide pan 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the potatoes. Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and gently boil until both the beans and potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander.
  • 4. Place the beans and potatoes in a large serving bowl, spoon the pesto on top, and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until blended. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds and garnish with the tomato wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

If you're looking for a potato salad with clout, look no further than this green bean and potato salad with pesto. We used baby potatoes, green beans, and tomatoes and basil from our garden, and it spelled freshness.

This salad is substantial enough to be eaten by itself. The bright green of the beans and red of the tomato with the green pesto was a lovely sight, and lovelier to eat. I also like that the pesto was made with almonds, rather than pine nuts, for a nice change. I actually prefer it. This combination was delicious, and I am already looking forward to making it again soon! It would be awesome with sun-dried tomato or roasted red pepper pesto as well.

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