This cold Italian green bean salad is a simple side dish perfect for spring and summer meals. Dress it with our Fat-Free Italian Dressing for a low-fat green bean salad, or use your favorite store-bought Italian vinaigrette. Quick, fresh, and so delicious!
Spring has really been teasing us this year, back and forth with SO many chilly days! But now that warm weather is officially upon us, salads and fresh vegetable side dishes like this Italian green bean salad feel extra enjoyable!
Also, this year has an almost palpable vibe of being the year we fully acknowledge how much we need and miss human connection. Everyone seems to be craving fun, laid back get togethers, and sharing food and stories with friends and family - like we used to do.
And for all of those upcoming 2023 summer cookouts and potlucks, we can never have too many easy and healthy veggie side dishes to share!
In just 20 minutes you can have this Italian green bean salad prepped and ready. Beautiful and healthy side dishes don't get much easier than this.
I told you this recipe is simple, right? You'll need just a handful of ingredients, minimal equipment, and about 20 minutes total.
- green beans or haricot verts - you can use either, and though fresh is best, you can even use frozen green beans. Keep in mind that thinner haricot verts will cook more quickly than thicker beans.
- Italian dressing - if you're one of my regular readers who appreciates oil-free recipes, you'll love this fat-free Italian dressing. That's what I used for the photos. It's impossibly flavorful to be so low in calories. You can also use your favorite homemade oil-based dressing or store-bought.
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- red onion - you'll only need about half of a small onion.
- cannellini beans - chickpeas/garbanzos or other white beans are also great; the soft and creamy texture of cannellini beans is lovely with the crisp green beans.
- sliced toasted almonds or pine nuts, optional
See recipe below for quantities and full instructions.
How to Make Italian Green Bean Salad
- Add a few inches of water to a pot, just enough to cover the green beans. Bring to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until bright green and barely fork tender.
- Drain in a colander, then toss and rinse with cold water until no longer warm.
- Pat the green beans dry, and toss with red onion and ¼ cup Italian dressing. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, cannellini beans, and tomatoes, and toss to combine. Serve now or marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. Garnish with nuts just before serving.
Tip! For this salad we want vibrant, crisp-tender green beans, not fully tender or soft.
This marinated green bean salad is right at home next to your favorite summer mains, like BBQ sandwiches, vegan chickpea meatloaf, and seitan ribs.
It's also perfect alongside potato salad, pasta salad, and cornbread muffins. Here are a few more of our favorite healthy potluck recipes:
- couscous kale salad
- carrot raisin salad with tahini dressing
- oil-free cornbread
- Southern-style vegan cornbread
- pimento macaroni salad
- chickpea "chicken" salad
- and for dessert, strawberry pretzel salad!
- warm - toss the green beans with the dressing while still warm. Add the other ingredients and serve immediately.
- with cheese - add crumbled feta or Parmesan. Try my vegan feta recipe (almond-tofu base) or this healthy plant-based Parm (seed and nut options).
- light entree - turn this into a light lunch with extra cannellini beans and your favorite protein, such as smoked tofu, seitan, or vegan chicken strips. It's also great with potatoes.
Due to the fresh ingredients and the acids in the dressing, Italian green bean salad is best consumed the day it's prepared. If you have leftovers it's still delicious the next day, though the green beans won't look quite as vibrant.
Yes, you can use fresh or frozen green beans, which makes it even easier to enjoy this Italian green bean salad year-round!
You can serve the green beans right away, or for a chilled and marinated salad, refrigerate for about 1 hour.
As written the recipe makes enough for 4 or 5 people, depending on how many other dishes are served. For a party, definitely double or triple the recipe.
With quick salads like this the exact amount of seasoning and dressing needed depends on how many other veggies you decide to add (and the dressing you choose).
So be sure to taste it once everything is combined, and don't be afraid to bump up the flavor!
You might like:
Cold Italian Green Bean Salad
- 12 ounces green beans, ends trimmed, long ones cut in half or thirds - preferably fresh, though frozen can be used (cook according to package instructions)
- ¼ to ⅓ cup fat-free Italian dressing (tap for recipe) - or your favorite oil-based Italian vinaigrette
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 6 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- up to ⅓ cup sliced toasted almonds, optional - or pine nuts; omit or use seeds for nut-free
- salt and pepper
- Add a few inches of water to a large pot or deep saute pan, just enough to cover the green beans. Bring to a boil, and add the green beans. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until bright green and barely fork tender.
- Drain the green beans in a colander, then toss while rinsing with cold water to bring down the temperature. Once the green beans are cool, pat dry and transfer to a large bowl. Add red onion and ¼ cup Italian dressing, and toss.
- Next add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more dressing or salt/pepper, if desired. Serve now, or refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Garnish with nuts before serving.
- warm - toss green beans with dressing while still warm. Add the remaining ingredients and serve.
- with cheese - try this vegan feta recipe (almond-tofu base) or this simple plant-based Parm (seed and nut options).
- light entree - make it a light lunch with additional cannellini beans and your favorite protein, such as tofu, seitan, or vegan chicken strips. Also great with potatoes.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.