This salad with a tangy feta dressing and crunchy walnuts is a delicious new twist on green beans!
I hold a special place in my heart for lettuce-less salads. Do you? There is something so wonderful about a big bowl of crunchy veggies all tossed together with a zippy dressing and maybe some cheese and nuts if you’re feeling fancy. In the summertime, my go-to is a cucumber-watermelon salad with big shavings of pecorino, but I recently branched out and made this green bean salad and ever since my very first bite I have been completely, obsessively in love.
Why is it that we usually think of green beans as a cold weather vegetable? Perhaps because of Thanksgiving green bean casseroles? Whatever the reason, green beans are actually in season from June through September, so now is the perfect time to get creative with them–like by mixing them with thinly shaved red onion, radishes, and toasted walnuts, and then smothering them with a tangy buttermilk-feta dressing punched up with fresh herbs.
I should note here that I am the only one in my immediate family who likes feta cheese, and this salad yields six very generous servings. Let me tell you, it has not been a problem. I’ve eaten this as a side with baked chicken, as the “salad” half of soup-and-salad, and as a snack standing in front of the open refrigerator at 4pm. The other day Alex innocently asked, “what’s in this container?” and I responded somewhat protectively, “It’s MY green bean salad.” Um, selfish much? I suppose I could have left the feta out of half for him but…sorry/not sorry.
This recipe is barely adapted from Eating Well. I recently overhauled my food magazine subscription and just started getting it. It’s my new favorite! All the recipes are so healthy, easy, and inspired. I must have dogeared at least a dozen pages in the most recent issue. For this particular salad I did make a few changes to suit my tastes, softening the red onion in warm water (a great trick to remove some of its bite), and adding walnuts, radishes, and a bit more salt.
This salad keeps very well in the fridge for several days. It’s also a great addition to any potluck or barbecue, and I’m willing to bet that you will be attending at least one or two this weekend. Have a happy 4th!
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved (cut into thirds if very long)
- 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and immediately transfer them to the ice water. Drain again and pat dry.
- Put the onion in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Combine the buttermilk, feta, mayonnaise, dill, parsley, scallion, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a food processor blender and blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the red onion and radishes. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.