Mexican Green Bean Salad

Mexican green bean salad with fresh green beans, cilantro, jalapeno, red onion, cotija cheese, avocado, tomato, olive oil and lime juice.

Mexican Green Bean Salad
Elise Bauer

One of our favorite ways to eat green beans is with salsa. The tomatoes, onions, chiles, spices, and vinegar perk up the beans in the most wonderful way.

This bean salad recipe is sort of a riff on the salsa theme, taking it up a notch with pickled jalapeños, cilantro, cotija cheese, and avocados.

It would make a perfect picnic salad for a Mexican themed potluck.

If you love Mexican food, I'm willing to bet you'll love this salad as much as we do!

Mexican Green Bean Salad
Elise Bauer

This recipe is an adaptation of a variation of a recipe for a cactus salad (ensalada de nopalitos) in Diana Kennedy's The Art of Mexican Cooking, recently re-released in a new edition.

If you adore authentic Mexican food and want to learn more about cooking it from a master, this is the book to have! It's a classic.

Mexican Green Bean Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinating 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 4 servings

Make sure to use the freshest green beans you can find. Good green beans should feel firm and should snap in half, not bend, when you try to bend them.


  • 1 pound fresh green beans, strings removed, ends snapped off, cut in half into about 1 1/2 inch length pieces
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you can get it)
  • 3/4 cup packed, chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup canned, pickled jalapeño chili peppers, sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (salty Mexican cheese that resembles feta)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced or cut into inch long pieces
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes


  1. Simmer the green beans:

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until just crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

    Drain the beans and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. Drain completely.

  2. Marinate in dressing ingredients:

    Place beans in a large bowl. Gently mix in the the lime juice or vinegar, olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, sliced pickled jalapeños, sea salt, oregano and cilantro.

    Let sit for half an hour.

  3. Mix in red onion and cheese:

    When ready to serve, gently mix in the chopped red onion and cotija cheese.

    Serve the avocado slices and tomato wedges on the side or mixed into the salad.

Mexican Green Bean Salad
Elise Bauer