I don’t know about you, but I find green beans bland. The One and I are always trying to find ways to dress them up (read: disguise them). Dry-frying, blackening, hiding them in a Thanksgiving bean casserole. Dare I say it? Sometimes deep-sixing them altogether.

Then we stumbled on this recipe by the beloved Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS’s “Ciao Italia,” which has been on the air for more than three decades. (Give a listen to our podcast episode with her.)

This can be put together ahead of time and only gets better as it sits. It’s just the slightest bit sweet, plenty minty, and meaty with bites of tomato. It’s a summer salad you’ll be making year-round.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers will be making this summer salad again and again for many reasons. They loved that it was easy to make and a “versatile, make-ahead summer side dish.” Yvonne Z.’s family was delighted with its “delicious and fresh flavor, with a hint of sweetness.”

Deborah W. described this as a “recipe that just works.” She loved that “the flavors hit all the right notes, and the dish goes with tons of different things. It’s a go-to that you can rely on that also comes together in a snap.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Bowls of ingredients for green bean salad--green beans, tomatoes, mint, red onion, garlic, oil, and sugar.
  • White balsamic vinegar–This lends a very pleasing sweetness and tang to the salad dressing, and is worth purchasing if you don’t have any on hand. It can be found at well-stocked supermarkets and Italian markets or can be purchased online.
  • Mint–You can use any variety of mint that you enjoy. If you find the flavor of mint strong, feel free to cut back the amount in the dressing to 1/4 cup.
  • Tomatoes–You can use cherry or grape tomatoes for this salad, depending on what is available to you. Cherry tomatoes tend to be sweeter and juicier, but either will work. Try using multi-colored tomatoes to add a pop of color to your salad.
  • Green beans–Fresh is best for this salad. Don’t use canned or frozen beans. If you substitute thinner haricots vert (French green beans), reduce the blanching time to 4 minutes.

How to Make This Recipe

A person pouring oil into a dish of tomatoes, mint, salt, sugar, red onion, and garlic and then mixing it with a wooden spoon.
  1. Combine the garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, mint, and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.
  2. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Green beans in a large pot of water, then being poured from a colander into a bowl of ice water.
  1. Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water until just tender.
  2. Drain the beans and transfer them to an ice water bath to cool completely. Drain again and pat dry.
  3. Add the beans to the serving bowl. Toss well. Let the salad stand for at least 1 hour.
    Sprinkle with mint before serving.

Common Questions

Can I make this salad in advance?

This salad needs to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving, so it’s a great choice for making in advance of a picnic, potluck, or backyard bbq. If you love the flavor of marinated vegetables, you can prepare this up to 1 day in advance. Store it in the refrigerator until about 1 hour before serving.

What should I serve with this?

The testers loved that this salad is versatile enough to be served with many dishes. They tried it with maple smoked salmongrilled lamb burgers, and crispy chicken thighs. If you’re looking for a simple vegetarian meal, try serving it with frittata with leeks and herbs or a simple spaghetti.

What’s the fastest way to take the ends off green beans?

If you’ve got plenty of time (or some willing helpers), you can snap them off one by one, but it’s much faster to gather them up in bunches, with the ends lined up, and use a chef’s knife to slice off several at once.

Helpful Tips

  • Don’t overcook your beans. They’ll continue to soften slightly while marinating, so blanch them until they’re just crisp-tender.
  • This recipe scales well and can easily be doubled or halved, depending on how many people you’re serving.
  • Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Remove from the fridge 30 to 60 minutes before serving.
A bowl of green bean salad with mint and tomatoes with two plates, utensils, and a dish of pepper in the background.

More Outstanding Green Bean Salad Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A bowl of green bean salad with mint and tomatoes with a serving spoon and fork resting on top.

Green Bean Salad with Mint

5 / 5 votes
This easy green bean salad combines crisp green beans and cherry tomatoes in a minty vinaigrette. It comes together in just 30 minutes, and is made ahead of time, making it perfect for potlucks and picnics.
David Leite
CourseSalad
CuisineItalian
Servings8 servings
Calories235 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh mint, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup (8 oz) diced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed

Instructions 

  • In a large serving bowl, combine the garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, mint, and tomatoes. Mix well.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain the beans in a colander, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process and help retain their green color. Drain again, then dry the beans on a towel and add them to the marinade. Toss well to combine.
  • Cover and allow the salad to stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves just before serving.

Notes

  1. Don’t overcook your beans–They will continue to soften slightly while marinating, so be sure to blanch them only until they are crisp-tender.
  2. Scaling–This recipe scales well and can easily be doubled or halved, depending on how many people you are serving.
  3. Storage–Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Remove from the fridge 30 to 60 minutes before serving.
Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook

Adapted From

Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 235 kcalCarbohydrates: 17 gProtein: 3 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gSodium: 403 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 9 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2022 Mary Ann Esposito. Photos © 2023 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A white plate topped with green beans, diced tomatoes, red onion, and fresh mint.

I thought this was an easy salad that made good use of the abundance of fresh green beans and tomatoes that are in every farmer’s market in my area right now. The fact that it can be made in advance is even better.

I happen to like marinated vegetables, so even though I only let them marinate for an hour, I would most likely prepare this the night before. I liked the mint, and it was not too overwhelming. The whole thing just tasted of summer.

Once in a while, you find a recipe that just works. The flavors hit all the right notes, and the dish goes with lots of different things. It’s a go-to you can rely on that comes together in a snap.

An oval dish filled with green bean salad, red onion, and fresh mint, with a fork resting on top.

That’s what I think about this green bean salad. The dressing is a nice tart/sweet companion to the beans, and the mint adds freshness.

I especially liked the combination of chopped red onion with the diced tomatoes that added substance to the dressing and flavor to the whole. It’s a nice side dish that can be paired with any number of different protei

Delicious and fresh, with a hint of sweetness! The words spilled from my husband’s lips before I could even ask his thoughts. Even a picky college student liked them.

I admit I am not a big fan of mint in savory food, but it added brightness to the dressing that I will definitely be using again. This was incredible with “just picked green beans,” but it would be a gift of summer in January with haricots verts!

For such a simple recipe, it was complex and bright and just delightful, alongside my grandmother’s recipe for stuffed cubanelle peppers. A perfect late summer meal. The cold Chardonnay was a perfect accompaniment.

We loved the flavors and easy preparation of this fresh Italian side dish. With green beans, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mint from our very own garden on hand, I just had to make this colorful summertime salad.

The sweet and tangy dressing was perfectly matched for the tender green beans and fragrant mint; the only changes I would suggest would be to increase the vinegar amount to 1/4 cup, add some freshly ground black pepper, and use a bit less fresh mint (I probably used a total of 1/4 of a cup, before garnishing, and that was plenty).

I also think a touch of heat would be nice. Maybe some crushed red pepper flakes or a small hot pepper minced and added right into the dressing. I think letting the blanched beans sit in the dressing for a while is key here; it really allows not only the garlic and red onion to macerate but allows for the flavors to really get into the tender beans as well.

If you’re looking for a versatile, make-ahead summer side dish, this green bean and tomato salad is a winner! The balance of the mint, onions, tomatoes, and green beans is perfect. I could envision serving it alongside any number of main courses.

It would also be a crowd-pleaser at a potluck. The recipe could easily be halved for a smaller crowd if desired.

This was quite an easy recipe, and most of the work was trimming the ends of the green beans. Perhaps, enlist some help for this part. (Anybody want to practice their knife skills?)

The dressing is really well-balanced. A little tart, a little sweet, a little minty. I used some sweet, peak-summer-ripe cherry tomatoes, and their flavor really popped against the earthy green beans. I think it’s worth seeking out the white balsamic vinegar for this recipe. However, if you can’t find it, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar would work well.

The recipe suggests serving it at room temperature, and I would agree with that. If you have some leftovers and want to serve it again, I’d take it out about a half hour before you’re ready to serve.

I served it with the Grilled Short Ribs with Bourbon BBQ sauce, which I also tested.

I was drawn to this green bean salad recipe because of the easily accessible ingredients. I grow both green beans and tomatoes in my garden, so using them both was a win-win.

I actually preferred to slice my cherry tomatoes instead of dicing them. I felt like if you dice cherry tomatoes, it takes away from the cute look of a petite tomato, and I could have used one whole large tomato if I was dicing. It was a very flavorful salad and reminded me of a perfect salad to bring to a backyard BBQ or picnic!

This green bean salad is a refreshing summertime side option. I wasn’t sure if it would be too mint-forward for my taste. The mint can always be used in lesser or greater quantities based on personal preference, but it ended up being just right. I thought it worked well with the tomato and onion and brightened up the dish.

It’s not hard to prepare, and bringing the water on the stove about 10 minutes before completing the bean trimming will keep everything moving. I gave it a couple of good stirs during the one-hour standing period to try to incorporate as much flavor into the beans as possible.

I also liked the versatility and practicality of this salad. Not only could it be paired with a number of different things, but it may be even better the next day after everything’s been in the fridge overnight, and it was good both cold and at room temperature.

This salad is a summery preparation that truly elevates freshly picked green beans and cherry tomatoes. A little sweetness from the white balsamic and sugar (which I may reduce some the next time I make this) and a little bite from the garlic and red onion complement the beans, but the mint makes the dish.

I made this with a combination of green and yellow beans from the local farm stand, and it was a beautiful dish as well. The simplicity of the salad calls for the best of ingredients. I don’t think I will try this with just any old supermarket beans.

I love summer vegetables and dishes made with fresh herbs! This green bean salad with mint was yummy and was enjoyed while eating a simple yet delicious weeknight dinner on the deck.

We enjoyed the tasty, fresh-tasting green bean salad alongside a wild mushroom frittata. The beans were green-crisp and nicely absorbed the white balsamic vinegar. Sweet red onion and cherry tomatoes (picked right off the vine from the garden) not only provided a colorful visual backdrop against the green beans but a tasty pairing.

Because I love fresh herbs so much, I also added some chopped fresh oregano, parsley, and basil to the mix, which really amped up the “wow factor.” This dish is perfect to bring to a barbecue or picnic because the longer it sits, the tastier it gets!

This green bean salad with mint is a tasty make-ahead side dish for a summer dinner or even a brunch. I prefer a crisper bean, so I only cooked the beans for 3 1/2 minutes which was perfect. After marinating for one hour, I served the salad alongside two other vegetarian dishes for a hot summer night vegetarian special; a bulgur salad with cherries and feta and a corn salad.

The recipe makes a generous amount of dressing, so I served it over a bed of greens and topped it with feta on the second day. The beans weren’t as brightly colored as on day one, but it sure was tasty.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is a simple and incredibly delicious take on green beans.

    I don’t know about you, but I always feel like green beans need “something else” in order to give them flavor. Well here it is – MINT. The combination of ingredients are delicious but the mint makes it soar. I’ve served this recipe several times now and everyone devours it until the plate is empty.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Great way to use green beans, tomatoes, and mint from my garden. I was unsure about using mint with the green beans and tomatoes, but this was delicious. I’ll be making this side dish on a regular basis.

    1. Anita, I couldn’t agree with you more. We make this all the time–in fact, we had it last night. I think the mint makes the dish!