This Easy Avocado and Green Bean Salad is a simple side dish that’s full of flavor and texture! It’s loaded with fresh garden green beans, creamy avocado, red onion, juicy tomato, and mini mozzarella balls, then tossed together in a bright Italian-inspired dressing. Make this easy recipe for your next BBQ or for a quick and light weeknight vegetarian dinner!
What do you do when you have an abundance of fresh green beans straight from the garden (or ok, Farmer’s Market for those of you who may not want to grow your own)? Turn them into a delicious, unique salad, that’s what!
This year, our bush green beans exploded. The first harvest I managed to pick over 2 pounds of beans, and that meant that for the two of us, we were going to be eating beans for days. Luckily, we are able to share with our neighbors, while also still having enough to try new recipes that quickly become our favorites, like this green bean salad.
It’s no surprise if you’ve been making FITK recipes for a while that if I’m having a salad, it needs to be a not-boring salad. It needs to have textures, flavor galore, and a variety of ingredients. Otherwise, it’s not happening. This includes my collection of green salads, and the same rule applies when making a not-lettuce-based salad, too.
You’re going to love how easy this one is to throw together, with a mix of simple ingredients that come together beautifully. Serve it as a side dish or for a light, healthy vegetarian dinner. It’s great to serve at BBQs or potlucks, too!
What You’ll Need to Make This Salad
Alright my friend, with just a few simple ingredients you’ll have a flavorful, texture-filled salad in no time! In fact, the dressing is what really contains the most ingredients, but even those can already be found in your cupboard, making it super easy to come together. Here’s what you’ll need for the salad:
- Green Beans – maybe obvious? I highly recommend using the freshest green beans you can find! Head to the farmer’s market, harvest them from your backyard, bug your neighbor to give you some from their garden…whatever you’ve got to do to get your hands on fresh summer beans.
- Avocado – you can’t go wrong with avocado. It adds the perfect creaminess to the salad. Dice it up or serve it in slices.
- Red Onion – it adds a little punch and tang to the salad. I recommend soaking the slices in a little water before tossing it in the salad to take some of the pungent tang away from the onion and mellow things out a bit. Of course, if you love that red onion bite, throw it in raw!
- Tomato – what’s better than garden fresh green beans? Garden tomatoes! I’d also recommend finding the most in-season tomato you can. I like using cherry tomatoes simply because they’re easy to work with and not overly juicy, however, you can use any tomato variety you’d like!
- Mozzarella – I love using either Mozzarella pears or ciliegine for this salad, because I can simply just toss them in and they’re the perfect size! If using ciliegine, I sometimes halve them to make sure its more incorporated throughout the salad. Ciliegine means ‘cherry’ in Italian, and these mozzarella balls are about the size of a cherry; pearls will be even smaller and don’t require halving.
- The Dressing – the dressing delivers flavor! It’s a mix of lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic, oregano and basil (dried, for ease), and dijon mustard. Kind of like a mix between a French dressing and an Italian dressing. Whatever you want to classify it as, it’s delicious, bright, refreshing, and the perfect mix of herb-and-tang for the salad.
How to Blanch Green Beans
When making green bean salad, or any instance when you want to be sure your green beans stay green, blanching them is key!
What does it mean to blanch? To blanch vegetables, boil them in salted water until tender (or your specific amount of time per the recipe) and then immediately dunk them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. It keeps the green beans crisp and bright green, opposed to becoming murky green and wilted.
So, that’s simply what we do: place the trimmed green beans in boiling salted water until tender, and then immediately transfer them to an ice bath. Because this is a cold salad, we don’t need to worry about the fact that the green beans will ultimately end up chilled from the ice bath.
When preparing your ice bath, be sure the bowl is large enough to hold a substantial amount of water and ice, and the green beans once you place them in the bowl. Other than that, there’s not much to it!
How to Make Green Bean Salad
This is honestly so very, very simple. Once the green beans are perfectly tender and hanging out in their ice bath, it’s time to drain them and assemble the salad!
While the green beans are doing their thing, it’s the perfect time to prep the dressing and the onions, too. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside until it’s time to toss it all together.
As I mentioned, you can tame the punch of the red onion by placing the slices in a bowl of cold water. This simply helps mellow out and soften the flavor a bit, ensuring they don’t overpower the salad. Keep them in the water anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, draining before use.
Toss together the green beans, tomatoes, avocado, onion, and mozzarella balls, and then mix it all together with the dressing, using as much or as little of the dressing as you desire. I always err on the side of less dressing and leave some extra for serving, so others can add more as desired.
Once it’s all tossed together, I like to garnish with fresh basil (of course, why wouldn’t I this time of year?!) for a fresh pop. Then, go ahead and serve it up!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, in parts. You can absolutely make the dressing ahead of time and store it in a jar in the fridge. The oil may solidify, so be sure to allow it to come to room temperature before assembling the salad. You can also blanch the green beans ahead of time. I would recommend waiting to toss the onions with the salad until you’re about to serve, so they don’t overpower the rest of the flavors, and I would cut the avocado immediately before serving.
The salad itself will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, with the exception of the avocado oxidizing and turning brown. It is best served the day it’s made.
Yes, you can! Simply omit the mozzarella to make this dairy-free. I would suggest adding some extra avocado for the added creamy factor. It’s already naturally gluten-free and vegetarian!
Easy Avocado and Green Bean Salad
- 1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 avocado diced
- 8 oz. cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 oz. mozzarella pearls or ciliegine
- Fresh basil for garnish, optional
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or to taste
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Blanch the beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water, leaving room to add the green beans to the bowl. Once the water in the pot is boiling, add the green beans and boil for 3-5 minutes until tender-crisp (or desired doneness) and still bright green. Transfer immediately to the ice bath until cool, then drain and rinse.
- Meanwhile, place the onion slices in a small bowl of cold water for 5-15 minutes to soften the flavor. Drain when ready to use.
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Once combined, slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Taste test for salt and pepper levels, adjusting as needed. Set aside until ready to toss with the salad.
- In a large bowl, add the blanched green beans, onion slices, tomatoes, avocado, and mozzarella. Toss with the desired amount of dressing and garnish with fresh basil as desired. Serve immediately.