Whenever I miss Greece, I cook fasolada (φασολάδα) and my kitchen fills with the aroma of the Mediterranean. I lived near an outdoor farmers market in Athens and found all the ingredients I needed to make this amazingly simple yet satisfying traditional dish. To cut time, I used canned white beans instead of dried. The flavors still turned out perfect.
As I move towards my next chapter in life, I wanted to share with others my journey towards health and happiness. Although I can’t simply fly back in time and quickly restore the strong, confident, woman I was while I lived in Greece, I can bring the food back to my plate. I did that yesterday, when I breathed in the soul filling broth of fasolada. Beautiful memories of stepping out of my flat in a sundress and sandals with a basket hung on my arm came back to me. I could remember the route to Syntagma square, the cafe and taverna that my flatmates and I frequented, and the tastes of marinated olives and hearty vegetable soups of November. Life was good.
I hope this dish brings a smile to your face as it had to mine. Just don’t serve it in a bread bowl. That was purely for aesthetics. You’ll want to savor each sip of the broth balanced with the creaminess of white beans. Make sure you have lemons on hand and a sprinkle of fresh oregano or parsley.
Greek Bean Soup – Fasolada
Yield: 6 servings Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour
3 (15 oz) cans of white beans of choice, rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 carrots peeled and sliced (or about 8 baby carrots)
3 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of canned, diced tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato paste
5 cups of veggie broth
1 tsp. of dried oregano
3 bay leaves
pinch of red pepper flakes (can be omitted if you do not desire the heat)
Best Served with:
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or oregano
Coarse sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
- Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy pot. Sauté the diced onions, carrots and celery until onions are a bit translucent. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, (about 2 minutes). Add the tomato paste and stir.
- Add the broth.
- Drain the white beans, rinse them in a colander, and dry the beans as much as possible. Add to soup with 1 cup of tomatoes.
- Bring to a simmer and add oregano and a pinch of dried pepper flakes.
- Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer on low for at least 1 hour. If needed (depends on the white beans of choice) add a little more broth after 30 min.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Ladle soup in bowls and drizzle with EVOO. Serve with chopped parsley and lemon.