Marinated Green Bean Salad

Easy marinated green bean salad is a cold side dish that you make-ahead for easy entertaining. Fresh green beans are cooked tender but crisp and tossed with colorful bell peppers and onion. A simple balsamic vinaigrette makes everything delicious! Serve this healthy vegetable recipe for holidays or potluck parties.

marinated green bean salad recipe

Is it a salad? Is it a side dish? It’s both! The fresh ingredients mean you could serve it as a salad, but the nature of the green bean means it’s a great side dish too.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Easy make ahead. Maybe the best thing about this dish is that it needs to be made ahead so it has time to soak in the flavorful marinade. That takes all the stress out of last minute preparation!
  • Served cold. You know how the oven is prime real estate during parties and holiday cooking! This salad is stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve so no last minute cooking or re-heating required. 
  • Light. When you want to incorporate something light into the menu, this recipe is one you’ll reach for time and time again.
  • Flavor. Marinated green bean salad is so flavorful and crunchy. And the colorful presentation looks so pretty on the table.
  • Vegetarian. With all the specialty diets these days, this one hits the mark for most. It’s vegetarian and is made without cheese.

When To Serve It

marinated green beans recipe

Key Ingredients

  • Fresh Green Beans. Fresh is best here! You’ll cook them to the point of being tender but still crisp. You don’t want to use canned beans as they are too soft. Frozen beans could work in a pinch but make sure they’re cooked, but not too soft.
  • Bell Peppers. Using red and yellow bell peppers makes this colorful and beautiful against the green beans. Plus, they tend to be a bit sweeter than green bell peppers.
  • Onion. I use sweet onions when they’re available. They’re not actually sweet, just mild in flavor. Any onion will do though, such as white, yellow, or red onion. Don’t worry, the marinating process takes the bite and sharpness out of the onions. 

How to Make It

  1. Cook the green beans in boiling water until bright in color, and tender but still crisp. Drain and let cool.
  2. Cut peppers and onion into long strips, or julienne style.
  3. Combine marinade ingredients together in a bowl or jar.
  4. Lay vegetables in a large shallow dish or place them in a large zipper freezer bag, and pour marinade all over vegetables. Toss to coat and refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.

Store leftovers covered in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Substitutions & Add-Ins

  • Make this salad with crisp asparagus instead of green beans.
  • Toss in some corn.
  • Add grape tomatoes cut in half or fourths.
  • Add some chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • Sprinkle on some cooked and crumbled bacon.
  • Sprinkle on some nuts like sliced almonds, walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted to bring out their flavor.
  • Add some fresh herbs like basil or oregano.
marinated green bean salad in blue dish

Green bean salad adds much needed fiber and nutrients to holiday meals that are usually full of carbs. Even thought I LIVE for those indulgences like creamy mac n’ cheese and sweet potato casserole, I still like to think I’m getting a balanced diet as well.

PARTY TIP: Lighten up your holiday meal with this green bean salad. Guests will appreciate something fresh alongside richer casseroles and dishes.

More Vegetable Side Dishes

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marinated green bean salad feature

Marinated Green Bean Salad recipe

Yield: about 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 10 minutes

Fresh green beans cooked tender but crips are combined with colorful bell peppers and onion, and then marinated in delicious balsamic marinade for an easy side dish or salad for dinner parties.


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 red pepper, cut julienne
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut julienne
  • 1/2 onion, cut julienne


  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Blanch the green beans by putting them into boiling water for about 3-5 minutes or until bright green and cooked, but still crisp. Remove green beans and pat dry.
  2. Mix all the vegetables together and lay them in a shallow dish or platter.
  3. Combine the marinade ingredients and whisk them together until completely mixed.
  4. Pour marinade over vegetables, cover dish with foil, and refrigerate for 2 – 4 hours.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I’m thinking of this for a side at Easter this year. Looking at the picture though, it looks like the pepper was roasted, it’s kind of burned looking. What am I seeing?

    1. Sorry I didn’t see this before Easter, Annabelle. The peppers are not roasted; that’s the color of the marinade you’re seeing.

  2. A true hostess! You even spare a thought for the ‘onion breath’ situation 😉
    LOVE this idea to serve something healthier!

    1. It is Carrie. It’s so nice to have an alternative to a green salad, too. I like having something to “balance” out all those heavier side dishes at the holiday.

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