Fasolakia – Overcooked Beans!
It was Orthodox Easter last weekend. Here in Greece Easter is a super event, probably the most important few days of the whole year. Some people fast for 40 days before Easter. This year my husband decided to fast for the full period for the first time. I realized that all vegetables ‘talk’ to each other and the possibilities are endless and enjoyed preparing vegan meals for him very much. The idea of slowly becoming vegan and not harm any more animals finally become not so daunting anymore.
I would like to share with you some vegan recipes that both my husband and I enjoy. These are the easiest meals to prepare and anyone can make easily, because I’m not a great cook myself!
The first time I had this Greek dish Fasolakia was when we were visiting my father-in-law. My husband very excitedly told me that his uncle who used to work as a chef came and made Fasolakia for his father and we would all have some for dinner. I took a look what was in the pot – Overcooked Beans! Why would anyone be excited over Overcooked Beans?
My puzzlement turned into wonderment soon as I had my first mouthful. These beans had depth! They were tender though not mushy instead of crunchy. It was the most satisfying feeling in the stomach too, giving me this warm feeling as if all the beans were nourishing my body. Serious Comfort Food.
‘Now you know why I was so happy.’ My husband said he saw my face dropped when I saw the Overcooked Beans and was secretly laughing at me.
There are many different recipes for Fasolakia on the internet and if you ask any Greek person, they would have their own favourite version too. I made the most basic and simple version to see what it’s like so I could figure out what I want to add to it in the future. But then I don’t think I would change it in anyway because it’s already perfect for my taste and my tummy.
Now the ingredients:
Olive oil, the very best (Greek) kind – 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Onions, I prefer the red ones – 2
Garlic – 3 to 5 cloves
Tomatoes – 1/2 kilo
Green beans – 1 kilo
Pinch of sugar
Nice sea salt/Himalayan pink salt
Begin by preparing the ingredients. Wash the beans, discard the end bits and break them into manageable size. Peeled the onions and garlic. I blended the onions till they are totally mushy so they would melt into the sauce, but you can chop them. Chop or blend the garlic into tiny pieces. Grate the tomatoes. To do this, cut the tomatoes in halves width-wise and grate them using a box cutter resting on a bowl to catch all the juice, discard the skins.
Heat a large pot on medium high heat, add the olive oil. If you think that is too much oil for you, you can always use less and see if you want to add more when you add the beans. Sauteed the onions for a few minutes with a pinch of salt, then add garlic and stir till fragrant, about a minute. Add the grated tomatoes and juice and a pinch of sugar. Stir till everything is combined. Add the beans and more salt (maybe a teaspoon in total, or more) and stir some more. The liquid may not cover all the beans but it’s fine. Cover and cook till it boils and then lower the fire and simmer for about an hour. Give it a stir every 20 minutes or so. Last time I cooked mine for 1.5 hours because the beans weren’t tender enough for me.
Overcooked Beans are best served with rice or pasta. They are lovely even when eaten cold. I did just that while writing this article!