Friday, May 1, 2009

Fasolatha (Greek White Bean Soup)

Fasolatha, a simple, but wonderfully flavorful and satisfying soup is served all over Greece. It is amazing tasting with just a few basic ingredients. Greeks are very generous with the olive oil; I prefer a moderate amount. I have also added turmeric to make sure we get our daily dose of curcumin to keep our brains healthy - as you know "a little turmeric a day keeps lesions away"!

A variety of beans called "gigantes" are used in Greece; they look like large lima beans. I used Great Northern beans here but have also used large Lima beans with great results. A good quality tomato paste may be used if fresh tomatoes are unavailable. Use about 2 to 3 Tablespoons in the recipe.


1 lb Large dry Lima OR Great Northern beans
1 small sprig each fresh oregano, thyme and sage
2 to 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium brown/white/yellow Onions
2 cloves Garlic
1 stalk Celery, with leaves (1 medium bunch)
2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes or ground Cayenne
2 large ripe Tomatoes
4 large Carrots
1/2 cup Italian (flat leaf) Parsley


Sort, wash, and soak the beans in plenty of water overnight or several hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Cover with just enough fresh water (about an inch above the beans) and bring to a boil. Add the sprigs of oregano and sage and simmer until soft.  Check occasionally to make sure beans are not sticking to the bottom of pot or drying out; add boiling water a little at a time if needed. Set aside until needed.

Prepare the veggies: Peel the onions, wash, and chop finely. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut off the root ends of the celery stalk, separate the ribs and wash thoroughly; slice thinly and include the leaves. Wash and clean the carrots; chop or grate coarsely. Wash, core, and quarter the tomatoes; dice or puree. Sort the parsley, strip leaves from the stems, and wash thoroughly; chop finely.

Heat the olive oil with the red pepper flakes in a soup pot and cook the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and the turmeric until translucent.

Add the chopped celery and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.

Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.

Stir in the cooked beans along with the liquids, carrots, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add additional water if needed and bring to a boil; simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add parsley. Check and correct seasonings if needed.

Serve hot/warm with good crusty bread, fresh cornbread muffins or quesadillas and a crisp salad. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the soup if you like.



Anonymous said...

hmmm, no water?

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, please read the recipe carefully; if you had, you would have noticed the water - used in soaking, rinsing, cooking, etc, etc. Happy reading and cooking!