Cold Green Bean Salad is a great summer side with most meat, fish or vegetarian meals.
However, the French green bean salad is usually best served with lovely beef steak, quiche lorraine, fish parcels, and even omelets because the Mustard vinaigrette salad dressing adds a lovely tang which makes it a tasteful dinner delight.
What is the french green bean salad and how is it served?
Green bean salad is another summer classic which I grew up with!
It's super french because green beans are commonly grown in French gardens from July to August and the salad dressing, which has to be served with the green beans, is a French mustard vinaigrette.
Usually, during summertime, people don't eat heavy food in France.
What french folks serve for dinner are light meals such as a quiche, an omelet, a mixed vegetables soup and fish with a simple green salad and a dressing or this green bean salad with vinaigrette.
Then, of course, there is always bread, cheese, and some good wine.
The cold green bean salad can be usually seen at gatherings as well where it would be right next to the tabbouleh and the red radish salad, waiting to be served with rare roast beef, Foie gras (duck liver pate) and a crunchy baguette.
What is a Vinaigrette Dressing?
A Vinaigrette is a dressing commonly prepared in France.
The main ingredients are vinegar and oil, however, most of the time some flavoring is added such as Mustard or the vinegar is switched by lemon juice or flavor infused vinegar.
The ratio is always the same and needs to be followed or the vinaigrette won't be balanced in flavor and texture.
Oil : Vinegar
2 : 1
Vinaigrette starts out always with the vinegar and the seasoning because the seasoning doesn't get mixed in oil.
Then mustard can be added, the same amount always just like the vinegar, and at the end the oil.
The dressing is then mixed with a fork or if a bigger quantity is prepared, in a salad dressing shaker.
The Vinaigrette dressing, usually, can be prepared in bigger quantities and then stored in the fridge without a problem.
In today's vinaigrette dressing for this green bean salad, you can choose whichever mustard you would like, just make sure it's a french or dijon type mustard paste.
More about your options for French mustard can be read in my homemade wholegrain dijon mustard post.
How to pick green beans?
Green beans are best when still young and just freshly picked from the plant.
The longer the beans grow on the plant, the larger they get and they usually get fibrous.
The first time you notice the strings is when you trim the beans and a long fiber comes off.
So to avoid anything chewy in your mouth, you want to pick only the young bright green fresh looking and firm green beans.
You can do a test by breaking a green bean into two, it should do a light snapping sound.
Buy your green beans when they are in season only.
The green bean season is from mid-june throughout July and August.
That is when the beans are the tastiest and the chances of stringy chewy beans will be less as well.
How to make french green bean salad and ingredients
The salad contains only a few ingredients and the steps to prepare it from scratch with garden fresh green beans is super quick + easy.
You start out by cooking the green beans for a short while until crunchy but cooked.
Please don't use canned green beans but only fresh beans.
Something like canned green beans shouldn't be a thing.
Fresh green beans are the key to a perfect, nutritious salad with multiple textures and enthralling flavors.
Besides Green beans, you can also use the yellow and black variety of the same species of green beans (just different colors).
Mixing yellow and green makes a great color combination too.
You will also need shallots or small mild purple onions cut small.
At last, you will prepare the 2 min. mustard vinaigrette dressing.
It's a small quantity, just enough for this cold green bean salad.
All the ingredients are then mixed and served cooled.
More serving ideas for the French green bean salad:
Serve the french bean salad with the following French regional cheese varieties:
- Saint-Nectaire from central France (Auvergne region). My eternal favorite.
- Morbier from east France (Franche-Comté region)
- Camembert from north-west France (Normandy region)
- Reblochon from east France (Savoy region) or Delice du Jura for the US because reblochon is not available there
Dear Reader, if you have a garden, do you grow green beans?
Cold Green Bean Salad with French Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing
- First, prepare your green beans by cutting off both ends. Wash your beans and keep aside.
- Keep a pot with water to boil and once the water boils place the green beans into the water.
- Cook green beans for 6-7 minutes exactly or until they are cooked but still crunchy. That way they will remain green too and won't overcook and get mushy which doesn't look too appetizing.
- Then take the green beans from the heat once ready and place in a bowl with ice water. That way you stop the cooking process and the beans will cool down fast. Keep for 2-3 minutes in the ice water then strain the green beans from the water. Keep aside.
- Then prepare your vinaigrette. Place the mustard with the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix the content well with a fork.
- Next, pour in the oil. Beat the dressing until the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the green beans and serve cold.
- Use a French Mustard Paste, the Dijon variation. You can use wholegrain mustard as seen in the post or the ground classic dijon mustard. Further options: Green Pepper Mustard and fruity red colored black currant wholegrain mustard.
- For the Vinegar use something like apple cider, white vinegar or even rice vinegar.
- For the oil use plain sunflower oil or oilseed rape. Use Extra virgin olive oil only with lemon juice (instead of vinegar)
- Pick raw green beans which are tight, dark green young and slim. The older the more fibrous the green beans get.