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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce

February 23, 2017

By Kath Dedon


Instead of a tossed green salad, I served this Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce as a side dish with Tortilla Soup. They paired together quite well, and we all loved the beans!

The cilantro sauce is kind of like a cilantro pesto but, unlike traditional pesto, it does not include cheese. Cilantro, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and a green onion are processed in a food processor to make the tasty sauce. Very easy. Very good!

The green beans are boiled and then plunged in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After tossing the beans with the cilantro sauce, they’re ready to eat.

The recipe, which is adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, says the salad can be made up to 4 hours before serving. I think you could easily stretch it to more than 4 hours, though, based on how great the leftover salad tasted the next day. It still tasted fantastic and was still a vibrant green color.

I have made this Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce twice in the last couple of weeks. I made the whole recipe, which generously serves 8, the first time. The second time, I cut the recipe in half for 4 servings. Bob and I enjoyed it for dinner two nights in a row.

At dinner, Bob wondered if it wouldn’t also be good hot. I had been thinking the same thing. I may try that next time. I would skip the ice bath and just drain the hot beans and toss them with the cilantro sauce. If I do that, I’ll update it here to let you know how it went.


Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce.JPG


Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce

(Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 (double to serve 8)


2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped a bit

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

1¼ cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems, tough stem ends trimmed (about 1 bunch)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 green onion, sliced thin

¼ teaspoon salt

A grind or two of black pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed


I like to line the beans up along the edge of a knife to cut the tips off several at the same time.

Cutting beans

 1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and garlic clove. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a small plate.

2. Let the garlic cool for a couple of minutes and then peel the clove and chop it up.

3. Put the cilantro, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, green onion, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, or until it’s smooth. You may have to stop the processor to scrape down the sides. Put the cilantro sauce in a large bowl.





4. Fill a second large bowl halfway with ice and water.

5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When it’s boiling add 1 tablespoon of salt and the green beans. (If you double the recipe, still use 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt.) Cook the beans for 4 minutes, then drain them and add them to the ice bath.



6. Let the beans chill for about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry a bit with paper towels.

7. Put the drained beans in the bowl with the cilantro sauce. Gently toss so the sauce is distributed well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.





2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2017 2:33 am

    I’m jealous, those fresh green beans look so good. We’ll not see fresh green beans here for another couple of months. But, I’ve pinned this one and plan to make it when those green beauties come our way. Do you think I could substitute pine-nuts for the walnuts? My wife has a nut allergy.

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