Make Ahead

Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta, Red Onion, and Marjoram

May 28, 2010
6 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 12 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

When we were neighbors, our friends John and Julia had my husband and me over for dinner on an embarrassingly regular basis. During the Maryland summer when it was too hot to turn on the oven, John would grill a couple steaks or whole fish to perfection and toss together a simple Greek salad of ripe tomatoes, red onion, feta, and marjoram. I use lemon juice here instead of red wine vinegar and green beans when tomatoes aren't in season and when they are, both are terrific. - Midge —Midge

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad, on the surface, seems like one you see at every barbeque -- except that this one is more lemony, only gently oniony, fragrant with marjoram and entirely balanced. The secret? A dash of agave nectar in the dressing, which sweetens and smoothes the lemon and feta. Make sure you don't overcook the green beans -- you want them to snap under your teeth. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 4 ounces feta
  • 1/4 red onion, super-thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves stripped and roughly chopped (up to 4 sprigs; oregano is great too)
  • 1/4 cup your best olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 dash agave nectar (or sugar to taste)
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Throw in green beans for about 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Blend together lemon juice, zest, olive oil and agave nectar.
  3. Combine beans and red onion, crumbled cheese, and marjoram. Toss with dressing. Chill until those lamp chops come off the grill.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • ihaventpoisonedyouyet
  • borntobeworn
  • Amy Doyle
    Amy Doyle
  • HandRocksLadle

Recipe by: Midge

I’m a journalist who’s covered everything from illegal logging in Central America to merit pay for teachers, but these days I write mostly about travel. I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in some far-flung locales, where poking around markets and grocery stores is my favorite thing to do. Cooking, especially baking, is my way of winding down after a long day; there’s nothing like kneading bread dough to bring you back to earth.

50 Reviews

Fi June 3, 2022
Absolutely loved this salad. Took it to a family event... not a skerrick was left. Compliments left, right and centre.
Tasty, great texture, crunchy, silky. I am going to grow marjoram so I can make this whenever. Thank you.
houlaNOLA March 30, 2016
this is delicious! thank you. so good, i used the recipe on some leftover kale - equally yummy!
Bevi July 29, 2015
Midge - what a nice recipe! I had a rather large shallot which I sliced thinly and sautéed very light in olive oil. This has spectacular flavor, and my kids will love this dish. It is such a nice way to showcase fresh, local green beans. Marjoram is a miracle herb.
Midge December 7, 2015
Thank you Bevi! I'm so glad you tried it. Totally agree re marjoram. I now grow it every summer just so I have it on hand for this salad.
ColdFrisian August 11, 2013
Simple, but delicious. I just add some chili flakes to it.
Katie1 June 9, 2013
This really is the best bean salad! Thanks for the recipe.
Dama November 13, 2012
I made this with a shallot instead of red onion bc its what I had on hand and let it sit in the lemon juice while blanching the green beans to mellow the flavor some. It was still a bit sharp but not overpowering, a good balance for us as my husband loves raw onion and I don't. We used sheep's milk french feta and this recipe was absolutely divine. My only regret was not doubling it!
The divorce from my greek husband does not seem to have had the desired effect since I still google feta or white bean or souvlaki recipes. This though, is wonderful. Word of warning - do not throw caution to the wind - found out the hard way that greek oregano is WAY too strong for this dish. Stick with the recommended herb or be very judicious before you forge ahead.
Jenna K. May 30, 2012
I've always just boiled green beans and served with butter - finally starting to think outside the box!! This recipe is beautiful - and it is even spectacular when one gets distracted and forgets the feta and agave!! (oops!) I imagine it is even more wonderful with those ingreds and I look forward to trying it again - as it was intended! Delish!!!
Aebell99 May 18, 2012
I came across this recipe sometime last week and decided to give it a try - or at least, my version (which involved most of the ingredients except for the fresh herbs and sweetener. I didn't have the herbs on hand, and I had forgotten about the sugar. Also, I didn't chill the beans completely. Anyway, it was delicious. So much so that I have made it three times this week so far and am looking forward to eating leftovers from last night's batch. I introduced my husband to it last night, and he liked it a lot too. Served it asa warm side-dish with grilled jerk pork chops and simple pan fried potatoes.
jellybeans April 22, 2012
I made this very refreshing salad last night.It was wonderful and I can't wait to share it.
Thank you Midge.
Midge April 22, 2012
Thanks so much jellybeans. It's definitely that time of year.
ubs2007 March 10, 2012
Wow, wow and more wow! LOVE the combination of flavors. Creative, delicious and gorgeous dish. Thank you so much for sharing!
Midge April 22, 2012
Wow, thanks. I'm thrilled you like it.
jaere September 11, 2011
Delicious! Just had this for dinner along with brown butter red potatoes and cedar plank salmon. Our kids said this was about the best dinner ever. Such a simple recipe and a great make ahead dish as well.
Midge September 12, 2011
Thanks jaere! Sounds like a great dinner to me too.
MaryDD August 24, 2011
Made this for dinner this week! It has a great, bright citrus flavor that pairs well with gamey meat!
Midge August 25, 2011
I'm so glad you liked it!
lylebama July 26, 2011
I made this tonight with meyer lemon-infused olive oil in replace of regular and it was delicious. Great recipe for garden fresh beans and so easy. Thanks.
Midge August 25, 2011
Oh yum. Must try that. Thanks for reporting back!
borntobeworn July 16, 2011
I made this last night and it was very tasty! We're not eating oils these days so I left that out (didn't miss it at all). Instead of marjoram next time, I'm going to try cilantro. My guy doesn't like raw onions but they were tamed nicely by the lemon juice & feta.
Midge July 16, 2011
Thanks btbw! Let me know how it goes with cilantro.
Amy D. June 29, 2011
Made this for dinner tonight. Very good. I ended up using only half the dressing, but that's fine. I can make them again tomorrow.
Midge July 16, 2011
Thanks Amy. The dressing is delicious with greens too.
pat_dohaney May 30, 2011
Oh my, the description and picture alone made me smile...can't wait to try this gem. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas and recipes. You make my days!!!
Midge May 30, 2011
Wow, thanks so much! Hope you try it. I just made it last night with grape tomatoes
HandRocksLadle February 13, 2011
I made this last night and it was gone FAST. I used a Meyer lemon, shallots instead of the red onion and a tomato basil feta. I'm using the beans I didn't use last night to make it again so we can have it for the week!
Midge May 30, 2011
Ooh, I like your tweaks! Will have to try a Meyer lemon in it sometime.
Elise February 8, 2011
I've made this several times for having people over, and it's always a hit with dinner guests - not to mention that I love it (I'd eat it every day if I could). Have used shallot instead of red onion, and that works well too.
Midge February 10, 2011
I'm so glad you like it! I'll have to give shallots a try.
Sagegreen August 3, 2010
I love this recipe. Can't wait to meet you Saturday!
Midge August 3, 2010
Thanks so much. Really looking forward to Saturday!