Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Green Bean Salad with Feta and Tomatoes #ChristmasRecipe and #Giveaway by Leslie Karst

As this difficult year finally draws to a close, I'd like to wish everyone happy holidays and a joyous new year! And to celebrate all of these things, I'm giving away a copy of the newly-released audiobook of the first in my Sally Solari series, Dying for a Taste! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the giveaway. Now on to this scrumptious recipe:  

If there’s any one vegetable side dish associated with the holidays, I’d have to say it’s probably the famous (or infamous, depending on your attitude) Green Bean Casserole—traditionally topped with canned fried onions.

Not to disrespect an old classic, but given the heaviness of the rest of the traditional Christmas feast--be it centered around turkey or roast beef--I prefer my green beans to be crisp and refreshing, and this recipe fits the bill perfectly. (It also counts as a salad, so you have one less dish to prepare!)


This dish is quick and easy to make, can be done in advance, is attractive, and is truly delicious. And it's even green and red--perfect for the holiday spirit! So if you have yet to decide on your veg for Christmas, you might want to consider this Green Bean Salad with Feta and Tomatoes. But if you’ve already got your menu planned for the Big Day, perhaps you can prepare these beans sometime in the next week, as a light and refreshing (and yes, dietetic) change from leftover turkey and mashed potatoes.

The green beans pictured are the wide and flat variety, sometimes referred to as Romano or Italian beans. But of course any kind of green beans could be used—or even asparagus too, for that matter!

Green Bean Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

(serves 4)


1 lb. green beans

½ lb. cherry or grape tomatoes

½ lb. chunk feta cheese

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper



Make the topping/dressing first, so it can sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Cut the cheese into ½” cubes.

Slice the tomatoes. (You can substitute regular, large tomatoes and cut them into bite-size chunks, but I prefer to use cherry or grape tomatoes, as they are sweeter, and their slices make for better presentation.)

Then mix the cheese and tomatoes together in a bowl and drizzle them with 3 tablespoons of the with olive oil (remember, this is going to be the dressing, so it should be runny). Add salt and pepper to taste (but go easy on the salt, depending on how salty your cheese already is).

Set the dressing aside on the counter and stir it every half hour or so. After an hour or two it will be well-incorporated, and you can refrigerate it until time to eat. But do take it out of the fridge at least a half hour before service, to allow the olive oil to come to room temperature.

Next you need to blanch the beans. If they have strings, de-string them. Keep them whole. Get a large pot of salted water boiling, and drop in the beans:

Let them cook for just a few minutes (2-4, depending on how many beans there are). You want them to still have a bit of crunch to them.

While the beans are blanching, get ready a colander and a bowl of ice. Pour the pot of cooked beans into the colander, then dump the drained beans into the bowl of ice and add cold water. Stir them around with your hands to cool them off as quickly as possible (but be gentle, so you don’t break them). By stopping the cooking right away like this, the beans will retain their bright green hue.

Once cool, put them back in the colander to drain (or you could put them on a dish towel, instead):

When the beans are dry, toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little S&P, and put them in the fridge until time for service:

To plate up the salads, lay the beans artistically on plates,

and then top them with the dressing (give it a quick last stir, first):

Voilà! Yummy! 


🍅  🌿  🍗

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


And now for the GIVEAWAY! Simply comment below, telling me what is your favorite holiday side dish, for a chance to win an audiobook (a link to a download of the recording via Audible) of the first in my Sally Solari mystery series, Dying for a Taste! (And be sure to leave your email address, so I can contact you.)



  1. That looks so good, Leslie! Am saving the recipe. Merry Christmas!

  2. The recipe for Green Bean Salad with Feta and Tomatoes sounds yummy! I'm all for shaking things up and doing something new and exciting instead of the same old - same old stuff. We all have our favorites I guess, but you never know when something will be your new favorite if you don't give it a chance.

    Thank you for the chance to win am audiobook of "Dying for a Taste". Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.

    May your Christmas be the merriest and the new year your happiest!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Thanks, Kay--and I totally agree! You'll never know what's your new favorite unless you try new things!

      And Merry Christmas to you, too!

  3. Leslie, that sounds like an interesting combination that I never thought of before. Sadly, I can no longer eat tomatoes due to allergies (nightshades) but I will save the recipe in the folder for others to enjoy!

    Merry Christmas and happy eating!!

    1. I'm trying to think of a substitute, but the obvious one--red peppers--is also in the nightshade family. Will keep thinking on it...

      Merry Christmas to you, as well, my dear!

  4. Dont include me in the give a way. I cant do audible. Thank you for sharing this simple recipe. I love simple. LOL One of my most asked for dishes during the holidays is my sweet potato casserole. Merry Christmas
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  5. That recipe looks delicious! My favorite side dish is the fruit salad we make for the holidays. Happy Holidays!

    1. Fruit salad is another good idea for a light and refreshing holiday side dish! Cheers!

  6. Yummy! This would go well with the ham we're having for Christmas dinner. We try some variation of the green bean casserole every few years but it's just not for us. My favorite side is my mom's stuffing recipe - but not with ham. ;-). Thanks for the giveaway. Happy Holidays! sallycootie(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. I do love stuffing, but with ham I like to make my grandmother's cheese potato casserole--yum!

  8. My favorite side dish is mashed potatoes. My sister makes the best ones.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

    1. I might be with you there, Jana. I think I could eat mashed potatoes every single day of the year...

  9. Years ago I found the original green bean casserole recipe on a soup can and took it (the casserole, not the can) to a family gathering. For years after, that was what they asked me to bring. I finally found out, the only reason they requested it, was because they thought that was the only thing I could make. We all had a good laugh and my new go to side is brussels sprouts, carrots, onions and potatoes tossed with olive oil, butter and herbs, roasted until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

    1. Lol! But, oooo...that new dish does sound great!

  10. The green bean salad looks so yummy. My favorite dish is Italian sausage stuffing.

  11. The green bean salad looks so yummy. My favorite dish is Italian sausage stuffing.

  12. The green bean salad looks delicious. My favorite is Italian sausage stuffing or dressing.

  13. Love sweet potato casserole for a side dish!

  14. My favorite side dish is stuffing!
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net