Greek bean soup

By: Eleni Saltas

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.


Prep Time:


Total Time:

3 hours (lots of downttime)



Good For:



  • 16 oz dry white navy beans (I prefer medium or large sized)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, 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
  • 5 cups of boiling water, plus more if needed (you want boiling water so the cooking process isn’t interrupted)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, or more if needed
  • 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 or lemon juice, for serving

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

The night before: rinse the beans and add to a bowl with a dash of salt and baking soda and cover with water to soak overnight (up to 24 hours). When ready to use, rinse and drain the beans well.

Step 2

Ready to cook: Heat half of the olive oil in medium pot 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.

Step 3

Stir in the tomato paste and saute for 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomato sauce, bay leaf, water, vegetable broth and the remaining olive oil. Be sure there is enough liquid to cover the beans.

Step 4

Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes, then cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to low/medium and slow simmer for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Occasionally check the soup and add more water or vegetable broth if necessary. As the beans cook, you may notice a white foam rise to the surface. If so, be sure to remove it with a spoon.

Step 5

Towards the end of the cooking process when the beans are soft, 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.

Step 6

Stir in the red wine vinegar or lemon juice at the end to taste.

Recipe 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.