One of the most popular summer dishes in Greece. Green beans and potatoes are cooked in a light tomato sauce for a healthy, vegan and gluten free meal!
In Greece, you know that summer has settled in when people start to cook this green bean stew with potatoes. Simple and very easy, this recipe requires just a few everyday ingredients but the final result is almost epic! And it’s not just me saying this! I have yet to encounter an adult or child who doesn’t like a plate full of this healthy and low-fat food.
This recipe falls in the “ladera” category. “Ladera” (plural) are meatless dishes using lots of olive oil. After all, “ladera” actually mean “made with olive olive oil”. And to be more specific, this dish is called “fasolakia” in Greek, which is a diminutive word for green beans (something like adorable little green beans) 🙂
Making this dish almost exclusively during summer has become a habit that has been passed down from generation to generation, simply because green beans are in season during this time of the year and people couldn’t find any after summer had ended. Luckily, today all we need to do is make a stop at our nearest market and pick a large bag with green beans from the freezer department, no matter what the season is.
This recipe works with any kind of fresh or frozen beans with the most popular varieties being the snap green beans, French green beans and Italian (flat) green beans. Keep in mind that if you choose to use fresh, you may need to do some extra work since some varieties have tough fibers (strings) at the sides, so you’ll have to string them before cooking. Using frozen beans eliminates this problem, since they’re already prepared and ready to be cooked. I admit that having frozen vegetables in my freezer is a habit that often saves the day, since it enables me to make healthy and tasty dishes, like this Mediterranean vegetable orzotto, in no-time!
As I said previously, this is a recipe with few simple ingredients, made in one pot from start to finish. First you’ll have to sauté the beans and one onion with some olive oil and then add the tomato juice and the potatoes and let them cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Pretty easy, right? If you make a large batch, just make sure to use a large pot, so you’ll be able to stir your food one or two times with ease.
Using a good brand of frozen beans will save all the preparation trouble without any compromises in taste.
Sauté green beans with olive oil so that they’ll release all of their aroma and taste.
This dish is ALWAYS served with some feta cheese on the side. If you’re vegan, I believe the closest thing is vegan cheese.
A lot of Greek home cooks (especially Cretan people!) add a lot more olive oil than the quantity mentioned in the recipe box below, but sometimes less is more! Using just one third (or even one fourth) of a cup olive oil per four servings, makes this dish low-fat and perfect for people who watch their weight.
The amount of potatoes you’ll use will depend on how much hungry you are!
I like to sprinkle my plate with a few coriander seeds because I find that the crunch and flavor they offer goes really well with the rest of the ingredients. But this is entirely optional!
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- 2 pounds (1 Kg) frozen green beans (Snap green beans, french green beans or Italian/flat green beans)
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ⅓ cup virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 can tomato puree (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and pureed)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- 4-5 medium size potatoes, quartered or in thick slices
- 1½ -2 cups water
- whole coriander seeds for serving (optional)
- Heat a large pot over high heat and add the olive oil, green beans, coriander, pepper, and carrot. Stir gently for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onion and continue cooking and stirring until translucent (about 2-3 minutes more).
- Add the sugar, salt, potatoes, and tomato. Add enough water to almost cover the beans and potatoes.
- Bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Cook for 30 minutes, add the parsley and continue cooking until potatoes are fork-tender (about 10-15 minutes more). You might need to add a bit of water if you notice that a lot of it is gone during cooking (I usually don’t need to add extra water).
- Serve with feta cheese and bread on the side for the real Greek experience!
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