Mexican Green Bean Salad

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

Photography Credit: 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.

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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

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 Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Marinating time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

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.

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Mexican Green Bean Salad

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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11 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Noah's Gma

    Party favorite, always gone!


  2. Maura

    I made this last night and it was outstanding and just as delicious for breakfast and lunch today. I love green beans and this just makes me love them more.


  3. Melissa

    Made this tonight. Delicious. I didn’t have enough lime juice so next time I will add more. I wish I could post a photo of how pretty it looked in my serving bowl.


  4. Dohapaisley

    Could you recommend another cheese to use instead of Cotija? Perhaps Halloumi or Feta? I live in Qatar and am pretty sure cotija cheese is NOT available here… Or would it be better to just leave the Cheese out? Thanks :)

    You can substitute the cotija with feta, or another salty, relatively dry, crumbly cheese. ~Elise

  5. Deb

    OMG!!! I am eating this for dinner and for the first time am happy the rest of my family doesn’t like green beans because that means it’s all for MEMEMEME! I left out the cheese and jalapenos and only used red onions. I will be making this often!


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