Green Bean Salad with Basil, Balsamic, and Parmesan

To save time, while the water is coming to a boil, prep the other ingredients.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed green beans, cut to 2 to 3 inch long pieces
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (or shallots)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Soak chopped onions in water: Place the chopped onions in a small bowl of water. This will help take the edge off the onions. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.

2 Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (2 Tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water). Add the green beans to the water and blanch only for about 2 minutes or so, until the beans are just barely cooked through, but still crisp.

Fresh young beans should cook quickly. Older, tougher beans may take longer.

3 Shock in ice water: While the beans are cooking, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the beans are ready, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water to the ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the green beans and the red onions.

4 Toss with red onion, balsamic, Parmesan: Place the green beans, red onion, and chopped basil in a large bowl. Sprinkle in the olive oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle in the balsamic and Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chill until ready to serve.

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  • Bogdan

    OMG, impressively tasteful, five stars! Thank you.

    But beware if you make too much, I don’t think the balsamic freezes well! The flavor seemed a little bit too acidic after a week in the upright freezer.

  • John C

    Really good!… I made so much I had the rest of it a couple of days later and it’s even better. I used my old wooden bowl rubbed with garlic to hold/mix it. Let the flavors mix for a day or more you’ll find it the best!

  • Dru

    Easy, healthy and quite good! This doubled easily for a potluck I went to. I reduced the oil by about one quarter and the salad didn’t seem dry. Thanks

  • Mare

    I just made this lovely recipe using our homegrown trionfo violetto pole beans and basil. I can’t wait to serve it to the guests at our BBQ today! Thank you for posting it!

  • Relene

    Excellent summer salad recipe, we loved it.
    I will also add some roasted walnuts or pine nuts next time. Feta cheese crumbled onto the beans would be yum too.

  • Christine

    Got some gorgeous beans and a nice, brand new, sweet red onion from the farmer’s market this morning… add that to the pot of basil I have growing outside…perfection! This was absolutely delicious.

  • Tyra

    My future mother in law made this last night. It was a fantastic addition to dinner! Just printed out the recipe to go into my binder, it is a keeper for sure! Bright, fresh, and tasty… perfect summer time recipe.

  • Sharon

    Hi, my husband and I love blanched green beans and dip in a light soy. so fresh and good for dieting.

  • Tammy

    Hi this recipe sounds great, I can’t wait to try it! I am quite the newbie when it comes to cooking anything with balsamic vinegar or anything semi-gourmet ;) Can you recommend a decent vinegar to buy at the grocery store or specialty type store? I read a few articles about the whole aging process and commercial vinegars, and the difference with them, but I guess I wonder if there is one or two that you might recommend for the ‘average’ cook. Or maybe it doesn’t really make that big of a difference?
    Thanks, I enjoy your site tremendously!!

    Hi Tammy, for cooking vinegars, any balsamic will do, don’t go for the fancy ones. But for drizzling over tomatoes or for dipping fresh baked bread, nothing beats a well aged balsamic. They’re pretty pricey though, the older, the more expensive. Those balsamics might cost you $30 to $100 a bottle and you usually can only get them at a specialty store. ~Elise

  • Christian Gehman

    It’s fun to put a balsamic reduction glaze on the green beans … that said, these days I am beginning to suspect that the “Balsamic” trade may be more than a bit like the olive oil trade — it may be a bit hard to be sure of what you’re getting.

  • Chrissy

    I found if I steam the beans from my garden they cook better. Keep the flame on just until they start to “smell” then shut off the flame and let the pot sit unopened for a couple of minutes. This way they don’t overcook. Just open the lid check the snap and if done drain the water.

  • Emilyn

    I made this with your honey mustard chicken for supper tonight and my family raved about both! I love your website; I’ve haven’t found another that has such consistently great recipes. Thank you for existing. :)

    Thank you for your kind words Emilyn! So glad the recipes worked for you. ~Elise

  • Rheannon

    Wanna know what just took this recipe up another notch of deliciousness? Toasted pine nuts! I threw a few walnuts in, too. ;). Great, fresh recipe!

    • Ella

      Heyy Rheannon, do you know how much of the toasted pine nuts you used or was it an educated guess?
      Novice cook here!

  • Marita

    I got a bunch of Romano beans in my CSA last week and used them in this recipe. I threw in some toasted pine nuts and left out the red onion because I didn’t have any on-hand. The balsamic vinegar made the whole thing look a little muddy, but the taste was delicious. Thanks for a great, easy recipe!

  • Terry

    That green bean salad is delicious, Um Um Um good.

  • ThatCleverClementine

    This sounds delicious, and a bit of a change. I have a bit of asiago left in the fridge — I think I’ll try it with that instead of the parmesan!

  • Charlene

    Now you’re making me seriously regret not planting green beans this year. Last year I spent as much time picking beetles as I did beans. Dear Girl, you are directly responsible for our renewed appreciation for this humble vegetable. Your Mexican Green Bean Salad is a favorite here. Now, I have to try this one and the Mexican Three Bean Salad I found as a result of this post. I love the tip to toss the beans with oil before adding vinegar. And while I am singing your praises, let me add that your blog has just the right amount of intro and pictures for each recipe.

    Thanks Charlene! ~Elise

  • Shibi

    Thank you for this recipe and for the tips about green beans. On our eastern slope of Mt. Davidson in SF, we planted bush beans this year (with very low expectations). Well, they are taking off and we will enjoy making your salad very soon! (We are on Kauai right now, visiting… and I’m sharing your recipes with my parents. We made your chicken thighs with honey and dijon last night and the dish was a huge hit!)