Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)

Considered a national dish of Greece, fasolada represents the country’s frugal and healthy style of cuisine all in one bowl. Made with a hearty combination of white beans, chopped vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, a handful of herbs, and a robust sauce, fasolada is a meal meant to last for days.

Though fasolada is traditionally a thick soup, I like more sauce to mine, as I do with most soups and stews, because that equals more opportunity for bread dunking. And who doesn’t love carbs soaked in sauce? Complement fasolada with a salty side dish, such as anchovies, feta cheese or your favorite olive type.

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Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)
Recipe type: Vegetarian/Lenten
Serves: 6-8 bowls
 
Fasolada, the national dish of Greece.
Ingredients
  • 16 oz white navy beans (I prefer medium or large sized)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 4 celery stalks plus their leaves, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz tomato sauce (or tomato passata)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups of water, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, for serving
Instructions
  1. The night before: rinse the beans and add to a bowl and cover with water to soak overnight (up to 24 hours). When ready to use, rinse and drain the beans.
  2. In a large pot, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the beans. As the beans cook, you may notice a white foam rise to the surface. If so, be sure to remove with a spoon.
  3. Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sprinkle with pepper and oregano to taste. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. To the pot, add the vegetables, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaf, vegetable broth and the remaining olive oil. Be sure there is enough liquid to cover the beans.
  5. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low/medium and slow simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Occasionally check the soup and add more water if necessary.
  6. Towards the end of the cooking process, season with salt and pepper to taste, plus chili flakes if desired. Continue to slow simmer until the soup has thickened and beans have softened.
  7. Stir in the red wine vinegar at the end to taste.
Notes
Fasolada is even better the next day, as the ingredients sit and develop together. Reheat in a pot on the stove and add more water or vegetable broth.

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