From all the dried legumes, in Greece, fassolada (and NOT fassoulada, which is the way the peasants used to call it), is a hearty navy beans stew (or soup if you like) and is considered to be the national food of the Greeks.
In the stew (or soup) various vegetables such as carrots, potato and celery are added and cooked in a simple tomato sauce. Greek food is simple and the only spices used in this dish is salt and pepper. All its flavour comes from the olive oil used in all Greek dishes.
According to the principles of the Mediterranean Diet, we should eat dried legumes at least three times a week in order to benefit from its health effects.
No cholesterol – Low in sodium – High in dietary fiber – Very high in vitamin A – Very high in vitamin B6 – High in vitamin C
Calories per serving: 350
Fassolada (Greek Beans Stew)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 250 grams (8.8 oz) navy or other white beans
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 3 carrots, sliced is rounds and halved
- 1 big potato, cut into cubes
- 3 – 4 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 5 fresh tomatoes or 1 can of whole tomatoes with sauce, blended with 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Freshly grated black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 organic vegetable bouillon
- 2 cups water
- Soak the beans in water from the previous night.
- Drain the water and place the beans in a pot with fresh water. Boil for a while and remove any froth which arises. Drain once again.
- In a pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, spices and mix. Add the tomato, blended with the tomato paste and the vegetable bouillon dissolved in hot water. Add more water if needed to cover it and make it soupy.
At this point you can either continue cooking it on the stove top or transfer it to a “gastra” (similar to Dutch oven) and continue baking it in the oven. Bake for two hours in a preheated oven to 200oC (400oF). After half an hour, mix and discard the bay leaves and continue cooking until done.
- If you wish to continue cooking it on the stove top, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until soft, for about an hour and a half, mixing regularly. Add more water if necessary.
- After about an hour, remove lid and cook uncovered until the sauce thickens.
This and many more meatless recipes are included in my cookbook “More than a Greek Salad”, available on all Amazon stores.
Update: 8 January, 2013
Fassolada me Loukaniko (Beans with sausage and chili pepper)
It’s been snowing in Athens today. It’s not very usual to snow in the centre of Athens and we get excited when we see the buildings “powdered” with a little snow.
What better dish than a rustic fassolada (beans stew soup) to warm us up. When it’s cold we need some extra calories, so today when I made this dish, I added a sausage and a hot chili pepper.
The recipe is almost identical with the above. After sauteing the onion and garlic in a large skillet, I chopped the sausage in smaller pieces and sauteed it as well. When adding the spices I also added a hot chili pepper (you can add more if you like it really hot) but we prefer it mildly hot. When it came to a boil I transferred it in a “gastra” which is a baking dish with a lid. If you don’t have one you can cook it in a Pyrex dish and cover it with aluminium foil. I baked it as explained above in the oven.
The dish was delicious after absorbing the lovely flavours of the sausage!
Other related recipes:
Psorokostena and Fassolada sti gastra
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,