Dinner Tonight: Grilled Lemon, Green Bean, and Red Onion Salad

The idea of grilled green beans had never occurred to me until yesterday, when I was contemplating a bag of them from a market haul in the refrigerator, and what to make for dinner. I already had a few beautiful pieces of wild salmon destined for the grill, and the idea of a steamed green bean salad next to the robust taste of the salmon wasn't exciting me much. So I figured, why not let let the green beans join the salmon on the grill?

The real inspiration, though, came when I had already thrown the red onion on the grill and was thinking about how to dress the salad. That's when I flashed back to a restaurant dish I had once: a braised lamb shank served with a grilled lemon half. I remembered the bright, smoky acidity as particularly haunting. Turns out that grilling lemon is surprisingly effective, making it juicier and mellow. Combined with olive oil, it made a wonderful warm dressing that tied everything together.

Grilled Lemon, Green Bean, and Red Onion Salad

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

Dinner Tonight: Grilled Lemon, Green Bean, and Red Onion Salad

About This Recipe


  • 1 pound tender green beans, stringy ends trimmed
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges, root left intact to hold layers together
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. 1

    Toss the red onion with a tablespoon of the oil and place on the grill over high heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until soft, charred, and caramelized.

  2. 2

    In the meantime, toss the green beans with another tablespoon of oil and, using a grill vegetable tray or basket, grill them for 7 to 10 minutes until soft. If the beans are tougher, boil them until half-tender before grilling.

  3. 3

    When the green beans and onion are close to finishing, lay the lemon slices carefully on the grill over high heat and cook for 5 minutes, until charred.

  4. 4

    Toss the vegetables with remaining oil and squeeze the grilled lemon over everything. Season with salt and pepper.


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