This green bean salad is one of my favorite summer salads. My grandfather always had a garden and he’d always have baskets of green beans he couldn’t give away (or eat) fast enough. My grandmother would make this salad all summer long and I’d eat it all summer long. Never got tired of green bean salad either! This is one of those things which definitely says “home” to me as I can probably walk into any of my relative’s back yards during the summer and find this particular salad (or something very close) on their table.
Pop-Pop’s garden was a big one. It would produce loads of tomatoes, onions, zucchini, basil, mint, and green beans. He’d end up giving people baskets of his fresh vegetables and only had one rule: you had to bring his basket back. If you didn’t, you’d never see so much as a pea from the garden until the basket returned. He’d never say anything if you forgot it but you most definitely wouldn’t be leaving with another of his baskets!
I remember the first time I tried to make Grandma’s green bean salad years ago and just cut up the beans plopped them in a bowl and added the other ingredients. Of course it was nothing like hers and I commented to her I just couldn’t make it like she did. When I explained how I made it she informed me (with a chuckle) I had to boil the beans first. No wonder they weren’t as tender. She also had this great tool for slicing the beans. It was a peeler with a small “eye” on the end with a couple of blades inside (looked like this). You pull the bean through the eye and you’ve got perfect French cut beans. I do not have one of these so I slice the beans by hand (carefully) with a small knife. That’s one way to work on your knife skills.
Side Roam: I do this every summer. I see the big bin of fresh green beans and set out to make this salad then realize I haven’t purchased one of these tools which makes slicing the beans so easy and much faster. So, I end up slicing them by hand, kicking myself for not going out and getting one last summer. That’s it, I’m ordering one from Amazon now.
I think the reason my grandmother’s green bean salad is my favorite is because it has a tangy vinegar taste. The tanginess, the beans, and the onions are a delicious combination. Even as a kid I loved how this tasted. And it’s no small task to get kids to like green beans and onions. The onions aren’t harsh at all since they soften and soak up some of that vinegar. When beans start to flood the market in summer I know it’s time to make this salad and the taste brings me back to my grandparent’s lunch table every time. And don’t even think of serving this one warm. Like revenge, it’s a dish best served cold!
Green Bean Salad
- 2 lbs green beans, cleaned and split (or Frenched)
- 6-8 mint leaves
- ½ – ¾ red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 Tbs vinegar
- 6 Tbs olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the cleaned and cut green beans. Cook until water begins to boil again, about 5 minutes. Check for tenderness.
When tender but still firm drain and place in a large bowl. Place sliced onions and mint leaves on top of still hot green beans and cover with plastic wrap.
Let green beans cool.
Add oil and vinegar and toss thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. Toss well and serve.