This Greek tomato and green bean salad is simply heirloom tomatoes, green beans, yellow wax beans, red onion, feta, and herbs. Perfect for summer.
You don’t have to be Greek in order for this tomato, green bean, and feta salad to taste like home. Actually, you don’t even have to be at home for this salad to work its magic. We rather like bringing leftovers of this summery loveliness to lunch at work, often tossing in some extra feta and olives as well as a handful of almonds for a little supplemental substance. Because you need as much happiness as you can get at the office.–Renee Schettler
Tomato and Green Bean Salad
For the red wine and feta vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 small onion sliced and grilled until tender
- 6 basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 garlic cloves smashed
- 2 shallots thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dried Greek (yes, Greek) oregano* or less to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad
- 1/2 pound string beans preferably a mix of green beans and yellow wax beans, ends trimmed
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup Red Wine and Feta Vinaigrette (above)
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 4 vine-ripe tomatoes preferably heirloom, cut into rough wedges
- 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
- 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 6 small sprigs flat-leaf parsley leaves picked and torn
- 6 small sprigs dill leaves picked and torn
- 16 leaves mint torn
- Kosher salt and coarsely cracked black pepper
Make the vinaigrette
- Combine the vinegar, onion, basil, thyme, feta, mustard, garlic, shallots, oregano, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth and satiny. Season the dressing with pepper. You can use the vinaigrette immediately or set it aside for up to several days, stirring to recombine just before using.
Assemble the salad
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Blanch the beans until tender but still snappy, about 3 minutes. Then use tongs or a large slotted spoon to move them to the ice water bath, swishing them around. Drain well and place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
- In a bowl, combine the beans, feta, tomatoes, oregano, red onion, torn herbs, and as much of the vinaigrette as you desire and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, although taste it first as you may not need more salt due to the feta.
*What is Greek oregano?Oregano is generally divided into 2 types–Mediterranean and Mexican. And they’re completely different from each other. Shocked? We were, too. Mediterranean oregano is part of the mint family and grows throughout Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco. Greek oregano, specifically, is also known as wild marjoram. It tends to be more earthy, while Italian is a little milder, and Turkish can be quite a bit more pungent but they’re all still the same basic plant. Mexican oregano, just in case you were curious, is a relative of lemon verbena. It has a similar taste to Mediterranean oregano but with overtones of citrus and licorice.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This recipe is a delicious use of your warm-weather crops of green beans and tomatoes.
Definitely add the torn day-old bread to the salad as it'll soak up the tomato juice that has collected on the bottom of the serving bowl. I served it with a grilled butterflied chicken that was marinated in a similar array of herbs. The accompanying red wine and feta vinaigrette is delicious, but the recipe produces a lot more than you’ll need for the salad.
Consider cutting the recipe in half, so you’ll have a little extra, but not more than is usable in a week. Also, I found that the vinaigrette doesn’t need any additional salt added to it because of the briny feta cheese.
Everyone at my table really liked the freshness and different take (a creamy dressing rather than the expected vinegary dressing) on this green bean salad. It provided a great complimentary tang to grilled rib eyes that are readily available. I did substitute “regular” tomatoes for unavailable heirloom tomatoes. And there is extra dressing leftover for individual salad portions or to use on something as simple as lettuce and tomatoes or as a dip for breadsticks.
The unmistakable presence of fresh herbs in both flavor and appearance is in there. While the specified amount of dried Greek oregano might seem excessive, it doesn't overpower. The only adjustment I might make next time is cutting down slightly on the salt in the vinaigrette.
Originally published August 22, 2011