It's summer, and the same old green salad doesn't sound appealing? Try this Mexican Green Bean Salad with fresh tender crisp green beans, red onion, and cotija, dressed up with a simple cilantro lime dressing and toasted pepitas. It's a perfect side with a definite Latin vibe!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
I wax poetic about Rick Bayless' bold Mexican flavors and the creativity of his recipes, and have followed him for close to 20 years. I am always for new and creative ways to prepare ingredients we regularly include in our diet.
I'm guessing Mexican and green beans don't naturally connect for you? They didn't for me. In perusing my new Bayless cookbook Mexican Everday, I was tickled to find his Green Bean Salad with Red Onion and Salsa Dressing. His recipe inspired my Mexican Green Bean Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing.
I took some liberty with his salad recipe, and while mine resembles his, it is not a replica. I love the added texture of toasted pepitas, and salty crumbled cotija. My cilantro-lime dressing is essentially the same.
I highly recommend taking the additional step of soaking the thin-sliced red onion in ice water and salt. You've seen this method before in my Peruvian salsa criolla. This process removes some of "the bite" of the onions!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- green beans - I love haricots verts (thin green beans) in this green beans salad. Of course regular fresh green beans are fine!
- red onion - I highly recommend taking the time to soak the red onion in salted ice water. This step removes some of the sharp bite of the onion.
- cotija - Feta and queso fresco are good substitutes.
- toasted pepitas
- olive oil
- salsa verde - Either homemade or purchased salsa verde is fine.
- lime juice - Fresh squeezed lime juice is important in salad dressings!
- cilantro - Leaves and young stems are fine. The thicker stems are bitter.
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Prepare the red onions - This step is totally worth the time! Thin slice the onions and add to an ice water bath with salt for 30 minutes. This reduces the sharp "bite" of the onions and mellows them.
- Prepare the dressing - Add dressing ingredients to the bowl of a small food processor.
- Purée the dressing - Pulse/process the dressing ingredients until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Steam the green beans - Add the green beans to a saucepan with about 1 cup of water. Steam the green beans 3-5 minutes according to preference. Alternatively, you can use an electric steamer. Salt the green beans to taste.
- Finish the green bean salad - Add salad ingredients to a large bowl, toss with cilantro-lime dressing, and garnish with additional pepitas and cotija as desired.
I love haricots verts in this salad! These are young, thin green beans. Of course you can use regular green beans as well. You'll want to steam them to your desired tenderness and the thickness of your beans. I use haricots verts (quite thin), and let them steam about 5 minutes. They're crisp-tender.
What kind of cheese can I substitute for cotija? Feta cheese is a great substitute.
Does this green bean salad keep well leftover? We think so! If you don't think you'll eat it all, you may wish to hold off on the pepitas and cotija, and toss them in at the last minute to preserve their texture. We keep our leftover bean salad in the fridge for about 2 days, and it's still delicious!
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
This Mexican green beans salad is part of a menu that includes chamoy glazed salmon and charred corn. The combination of these three healthy and quick dishes makes a perfect warm-weather meal! You might also consider this salad alongside this fish dish, or these pork chops...