Fasolada, or Greek bean soup, is a traditional dish that has many variations. Some recipes that I see include vegetables; others only include the beans and some onions and garlic. This recipe has a nice balance between the two.
It is eaten throughout the year but is popular during Lent, the time before Easter where Greek Orthodox Christians undergo a religious fast. For most, this means that for the forty days before Easter no meat is eaten.
The haricot is traditionally used in this recipe. But in order to find it in the United States, you need to visit a specialty store or get it mail order. They need to be imported from Greece or Turkey which means that it may be hard to find them. If you donít have access to the traditional haricot bean, you can substitute the navy bean. This works just as well. If you can find haricot beans, try to find ones that are white, not yellow.
This dish can be eaten as a light meal with some salad and bread. You can also serve with feta cheese and olives, two popular Greek table ingredients. White wine from Santorini pairs well with this dish. You can find Greek wine at select wine shops and at Greek markets. You also may be able to order the wine online.
Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup) Recipe
1 cup haricot or navy beans
3 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
1 cup canned, crushed or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 vegetable stock cubes
1 teaspoon oregano or Greek oregano if you can find it
ľ cup fresh, chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak beans in three cups water overnight (at least eight hours). You can soak them for longer, but you may need to change the water. Simmer beans on medium-low heat in 2.5 quarts of water for thirty minutes. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Simmer for one hour. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock cubes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low heat an additional forty five minutes to one hour, or until the beans are tender. Add chopped parsley just before serving.
Note: The cooking times listed in the recipe are approximations. The main thing is to make sure the beans are soft in texture. If they are too crunchy, the soup is not done. Continue to simmer until the beans get soft enough.