I never thought of green beans more then a side dish that graced practically every dinner table, especially around holidays. Green beans, string beans, haricots verts, whatever you call them, they are easily available year-round, quick to cook, healthy and complement almost any meal.

And then I made this amazing green bean salad with salty feta cheese and toasted almonds that turned out to be a delicious, nutritious meal all on its own!

The secret is the blanch-and-shock cooking technique. This method is a great way to preserve green beans freshness and texture which is just plain necessary for this salad. They stay perfectly snappy but not raw. Let’s be honest nobody wants to eat mushy green beans in their salad.

Blanching and cooling is very easy. Cook the beans in the boiling water until just tender, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Then quickly transfer the beans to a large bowl of ice water. Let them cool completely.

Green beans serve as a perfect neutral, textural base for any of your more aromatic and flavorful ingredients like savory creamy feta cheese and crunchy, nutty almonds in my recipe.

I also love using fresh herbs in all of my salads. Fresh basil being a perfect pairing for this one. Just like I said with green beans being a simple canvas you can really go bold with other ingredients. I toss this salad in a delicious, tangy lemony dressing that is incredibly fragrant.

And this salad is so simple to make. It takes less then 15 minutes from start to finish which just an added bonus. And don’t let the ridiculously short ingredient list fool you-this salad is incredibly flavorful and yummy.