Green bean almond salad is one of my favorite sides. The combination of tender green beans, fried almonds, creamy goat cheese, and sweet-tart cranberries is always a hit. It’s perfect for summer parties, holidays, weeknight dinners, and more. This salad is endless versatile!
This post was originally published on September 25th, 2015. It has been extensively rewritten.
Hello, all! I decided it was time to update one of my first blog recipes because it had gotten buried and that is just too sad.
Why is it sad? Because this is my favorite green bean salad! I have a couple of others on the blog now (my Potato and Green Bean Salad Nicoise and my Green Bean Salad with Burrata and Crispy Shallots) which I do love, but this is the one I always come back to.
As I said before, I’ve made this salad for everyone I’ve cooked for in the past several years since it is just so completely awesome and tasty. I’ve made it for Christmas for Thanksgiving for summer evenings on the deck and for any other time I wanted a green bean almond salad.
I made the one pictured in my old photos (which you can see in a little photo collage below) for my parents (they loved it too!) and I’ve made it again and again since then. This salad has a permanent central place in my meal planning and I think once you try it, it’ll have a place in yours as well.
When I made this for my parents, my daughter and I were visiting for the week. Mom and I went to the farmer’s market in the morning and bought the beans. (And some delicata squash, which we ate the next night. Oooh, I need to update those photos!) That evening the weather was gorgeous, so we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the view of Mount Greylock – my parents have the best view of Mount Greylock ever – while sipping wine and eating green bean salad. It was a good evening and, something I want to do with them soon again.
Looking at the photos again, they aren’t too bad! Especially considering I had only picked up a camera for food photography three months before. But they were a little blurry, there were no step-by-steps, and I wanted to improve the lighting. And, you know, have an excuse to eat green bean salad again. 🙂 I will say that mom and dad’s old picnic table top was a great surface! I totally need to get some old wood and make a couple of backdrops.
How to Make Green Bean Almond Salad
To make green bean salad, first cook the green beans until tender and fry the almonds until golden brown. Then toss the beans and almonds with the dried cranberries and goat cheese in a vinaigrette and serve.
- Cook the green beans and plunge them in ice water.
- Fry the almonds in olive oil.
- Crumble the goat cheese, chop the parsley, and measure the cranberries.
- Whisk together the vinaigrette.
- Toss the green beans with the vinaigrette.
- Top with the rest of the ingredients.
Start with a pound of fresh beans – green beans, yellow beans, those great Italian flat beans, all good. Trim off the ends and cook them in boiling, salted water until they are tender. Then plunge them in a bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and get them cold fast.
Tip: If you are feeling lazy and don’t mind if it takes a little longer to chill your beans, drain the beans into a colander and then rinse off the pot until it’s cool. Add the beans back to the cool pot and fill it with cold tap water. I never do this…
While your beans are doing their thing, heat a little olive oil in a small fry pan. Add the slivered almonds and fry them, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown. Move them to a towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
The hard part is over! (Which wasn’t very hard, was it?) And all of that can be done ahead if you making this for a party.
Now you will mix the dressing and finish up the salad. Put the green beans in a bowl and toss them with the vinaigrette dressing. Add everything else and serve.
Tip: The almonds get soft if left in the dressing too long. Don’t add them until serving time. Also, the goat cheese will fall apart and make a mess if you toss it too much. Basically, add the nuts and goat cheese at the very end, though you can add the cranberries and parsley earlier if you wish.
I frequently make this salad just with the green beans, basically because they are all I can find at the supermarket most of the time, but I love mixing the yellow and green beans together. It makes a pretty salad even prettier! So, if you have some yellow beans, add them in.
Salad Variations to Try
Sometimes green beans are not available or not great, though I have been able to find small, French beans even in mid-winter lately. Or maybe you want to switch it up from goat cheese. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Use broccoli florets. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and make sure you blot the broccoli very dry after cooking since it will hold water.
- How about asparagus? This is great for a spring salad! I would saute the asparagus instead of boiling for the best flavor.
- Switch up the goat cheese to feta or ricotta salata. Both are great, crumbly cheeses with a lot of character.
Tip: If you use feta it’s nice to break it up a little, then soak it in fresh water while you make the salad. Then drain and crumble it over the top. It gives the feta a milder, more creamy flavor and texture which I like a lot.
So, there you have it! The best green bean salad, and our absolute favorite of all green bean salads. Also, if you become as obsessed with the fried almonds as I am, try out my Raspberry and Orange Salad or my Winter Romaine Salad. The fried almonds feature in both of those.
If you try my recipe for Green Bean Almond Salad, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
This fresh green bean almond salad with goat cheese and dried cranberries is tossed with a simple vinaigrette. It's the perfect salad for any night. Great for summer parties, weeknight dinners, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
- kosher salt
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 3 tbsp dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it near the sink.
Bring large pot with salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge them in the ice water.
While beans are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small fry pan on medium heat.
Add almonds and saute, stirring frequently, until almonds turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer almonds to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to a serving bowl.
Mix together all of the vinaigrette ingredients until well combined. Toss the vinaigrette with the green beans.
Top the green bean salad with fried almonds, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and chopped parsley.
- Green Beans: Using a mix of beans, such as yellow beans, green beans, and flat beans, makes for a nice presentation.
- Goat Cheese: Don't mix the salad once you add the goat cheese. It will fall apart and make a messy looking salad fairly quickly.
- Make ahead:
- You can fry the almonds up to 3 days ahead. Keep them in a sealed container.
- You can cook the green beans and make the vinaigrette up to 1 day ahead. But don't mix the green beans with the vinaigrette until shortly before serving. (an hour or two is fine)
- Switch out the goat cheese for feta.
- Use thinly sliced almonds in place of the slivered.