Summer Green Bean Salad Recipe

The perfect summer salad inspired by a memorable meal at Contigo - green beans, cherry tomatoes, roasted hazelnuts, and a bit of frisee tossed with a creamy herb vinegreta.

Summer Green Bean Salad

I had the quintessential summer salad the other night - green beans, cherry tomatoes, roasted hazelnuts, and a bit of frisee were tossed with a creamy herb vinegreta. Wayne and I were sitting at the cava bar at Contigo, and this salad kicked off our meal there. It was the kind of thing that made me sigh happily and settle into an evening of inspiring small plates, good wine, and easy-going conversation.

Green Bean Salad Recipe

Contigo is the new-ish kid on the block in nearby Noe Valley, and focuses on Spanish-style small plates made with impeccable local produce. I don't really do restaurant reviews, but I have to say, I really appreciate meals like this. I love a tightly-edited menu with a point of view, and I love seeing what chefs do with local and seasonal produce. Meals like the one I had the other night open my eyes to combining ingredients in a way that might not have occurred to me, preparations I might not have thought of. I love leaving a restaurant feeling invigorated to try out new things in my own kitchen, and that is how I felt as we caught the J-Church trolley home from Noe Valley that night.

Some of you might be curious about all plates we ordered, so I'll list them off:

- Dirty Girl Green Bean Salad - Cherry Tomatoes, Creamy Herb Vinagreta, Hazelnuts
- Patatas Bravas - Fried Potatoes with Allioli, Salsa Brava
- Wild Lobster Mushrooms and Catalan Farm Corn - Garlic, Butter, Thyme
- Berenjenas Fritas - Fried Rosa Bianca Eggplant with Tomato Salmorejo
- Coca (Flatbread) with Gypy and Red Lipstick Peppers, Sweet Onions, Manchego, Herbs, and Marin Sun Farm Egg

I fell for the green bean salad quite hard. And I admit, I've been making my approximation of it all week. Before tasting the version at Contigo, I can't remember the last time I combined tomatoes and hazelnuts - but it really works. This version calls for standard green beans, but if my memory serves me right, the version at Contigo also used Romano beans, and perhaps some hericot vert. Play around with whatever beans looks best at your market.

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Summer Green Bean Salad Recipe

I call for all green beans here, but if memory serves me correctly the Contigo version had a wonderful mix of Romano, haricot vert, and standard green beans. I think you'd want to cook each type of bean separately to make sure the thinner ones don't over cook. I'd also encourage you to dress the salad a bit more heavily than what you see in the photo - I always worry about over-dressing things before taking a photo, and now that I'm looking at the shot, the beans up there are looking a tab bit naked.

3/4 pound green beans, stems pinched off

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
tiny pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

a handful of frisee or little gem hearts

a handful of small cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1/2 cup hazelnuts, smashed and toasted

Start by making the dressing. Whisk together the chives, thyme, shallots, lemon juice, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil with a fork, stirring until everything comes together. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Sometimes my lemon dressings have a puckery edge to them, and when that happens I just whisk in just a touch of honey to counterbalance the sour. Set aside.

In the meantime, bring two quarts of water to a boil. Salt generously and stir in the green beans. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Just until the beans brighten up and soften a touch, I go a bit beyond "al dente" here for this salad. Quickly drain them and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large bowl toss the green beans with the frisee, about 1/2 of the hazelnuts, with a big splash of the dressing. Toss well. Taste, and add more dressing, salt or pepper at this point. Toss again if needed. Add the tomatoes and toss very gently.

You can turn this out onto a platter or plate individually topped with the remaining hazelnuts.

Serves about 4.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Mmm, this green bean salad looks so appealing and the yellow cherry tomatoes pop beautifully against the greens.


so glad for the tapas bar recommendation. We have found two i've enjoyed in the last couple months (ramblas and laiola) but looking forward to trying this one too. But first, perhaps, that salad at home.


I'll just bet you made a splendid duplication. I love to eat in same type of restaurants for kitchen inspiration. Green beans and tomatoes belong together, but the hazlenuts? I like it!


Ah, Heidi, you make a mean salad dressing! Love it. And I love frisee!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I was just wondering how to use the freakish amounts of green beans my plants have produced this season. (Three bags in the fridge!) This recipe will really help — hooray!


well, now I know what I'll be eating tomorrow night! Where would I be without you? I think I make something from your website just about every day...


I see Heidi hasn't commented yet, but for those with questions about frisee and little gem hearts, here are one gardener's answers: Frisee is the curly version of endive, a somewhat "bitter" green often eaten raw in salads. Little Gem is a variety of yummy lettuce, sweet and buttery. Certainly not something available everywhere, as lettuce is out of season in many parts of the country right now. IMO, Little Gem hearts just means using the inside/heart of the best, sweetest lettuce you can find. They are totally different greens, so I'm thinking that any yummy green would probably work, in the right proportions. Now, I need help: how do you smash and toast hazelnuts. Toast and then smash? Or Smash and then toast? HS: Thanks for jumping in Christine. You and I are on the same page re: any yummy green. I usually smash then toast. When I've done it the other way, the nuts get really hot and then mush when you smash them. But really, either way is fine. So looking forward to making this tonight. Thanks! Kristine

Kristine in SB

Green beans are my favorite veggie!

Mexican Food

Love your site, everything about it. This salad looks particularly delicious. Can't wait to try it. Thanks!

Sue Hansen

I would not have thought to put hazelnuts in a green bean salad, it sounds so delicious though! I love nuts of all kinds, and this recipe is just wonderful!

Angelia McGowan

I have to admit I don't know what frisee or little gem hearts are. In the picture, I am reminded of seaweed salad in terms of the finely leafed or shredded greens hither and thither. Are these the frisee or little gem hearts, and are they really the leave tops of something and not shreds? I can't tell for sure from the picture.


yum! this sounds so good. green beans have endless possibilities.


Hello Heidi, I share all your special recipies with my DD and this one popped up just as she had picked fresh green beans, tiny gold tomatoes and she always has her own home grown mixed green growing in pots. Thanks so much for making such lovely food for us. Bev

Beverly Jane Reynolds

whew! sounds deeelicious! the frisee as a bitter accent seems just right. thanks!!


Beautiful Salad! I like to use raw green beans, cut on the slant, with cherry tomatoes, and a drained can of black olives, a bit of garlic or minced onion and olive oil and lime juice. Basil to finish it off. I like your garnishing. Always nice.


this sounds divine!


Dear Heidi, As a meat and fish-loving gal, I'm constantly impressed by how you've created what seems like an entire universe of tasty, tasty dishes and menus that don't need meat. I'm inspired to give meat up--who needs it with your recipes and your ability to share good finds. Lori HS: Sheesh Lori, I'll cook veggies with you anytime. Maybe we can try out some Tempeh on Lisa next cabin weekend - see how that goes ;)


mmm. i'm sold. i'll be buying hazelnuts on my way home. i love making salads where i blanch the handful of random small vegetables and add them to greens. it's such a fun way to add interest and experiment. kudos for all the inspiration!


They look like Sungold tomatoes. Exquisite but hard to get even at the farmer's market here in NC because they are bursting on the vine too fast here this year. What are "little gem hearts"?

Chris W

Looks delicious. That sounds like just the restaurant I would like to visit.


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