Tender, bright Mediterranean braised green beans bursting with summery flavors. Either picked fresh from the market or frozen, this dish is going to be packed with flavor and 100% healthy and totally vegan. It is called “fasolakia ladera” and it’s another traditional Greek recipe for those who want to enjoy the benefits of the authentic Mediterranean way of eating.
Summer dishes! LOVE LOVE them. Let me tell you why. When I enjoy a well-cooked summer dish, I close my eyes and sail away to a beach with deep blue water with this cute tavern near the sea and its amazing out of this world food. There I am. Eating and enjoying the place with friends and family. Something like food flashbacks, I guess. If there is such a thing.
Braised green beans belong to one of the most important (and delicious) food category in the Greek cuisine called “ladera”. It comes from the Greek word “ladi” meaning oil and that is (always) olive oil of course.
Ladera is a staple in the authentic Mediterranean Greek cuisine and it is consumed as a main course at least once weekly. The cooking concept is brilliant: seasonal veggies right from the garden braised with plenty of olive oil and tomato, either fresh or canned (preferably homemade tomato paste or passata or at least high-quality store-bought). Then, use up all these fresh or dried herbs and spices to give extra flavor to this dish.
Combine with feta cheese for some more protein to your meal and go for the grand finale: deep your crusty homemade bread (one slice not the whole loaf. Bummer. Sorry. But portion control is the key to a healthy weight) in the sauce and clean up your plate. All of it. Like it is ready to place it back on the shelf. Seriously! I am telling you this is a culinary experience in a vegetable-based meal. Give it a try.
I strongly suggest to make other dishes like those braised green beans and enjoy other vegetable olive oil dishes like this braised cauliflower and the top summer dish like this baked vegetables named briam.
Fresh green beans or frozen? The internal question
It is said that fresh is always the best. I agree. It is also said that frozen can be equally good. I am with you too. It’s a matter of choice and option. I mean that I am lucky enough to live in Greece and to have a plethora of fresh, seasonal food anytime. However, those who don’t have access to fresh, seasonal ingredients or those who live in the so-called “food deserts” can absolutely make this dish and it can be equally tasteful and totally nutritious if they use frozen vegetables.
If frozen, thaw at room temperature while prepping the rest of your ingredients. If fresh, wash them and snap off the ends and if they are too large, snap each bean in half. As simple as that!
Crunchy or tender?
Both. Crazy, I know. But this is the secret for the ultimate texture and a cooked to perfection braised green bean dish. They should turn out soft but not mushy, firm but not crunchy. Sounds impossible? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. If you follow my instructions, you will enjoy green beans as you have never tasted before. Technique is all. Because the Mediterranean people know what to do with their veggies and now it’s your turn to find it out!
Ready! Now what?
Eat your braised green beans on its own like Greeks do or as a side dish with roasted chicken. Serve with homemade crusty whole wheat bread or whole wheat pita bread to soak up the juices (OMG! I live for this moment. See above…), a piece of feta cheese for that delicious tangy flavor against the tomatoes, olives and a glass of white wine which is totally optional but still… Hey, we do love wine around the Mediterranean area. Who’s with me on this?
Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The longer it sits the better it is the following days.
If you like his recipe and you decide to cook your green beans the Greek way, show me your dishes. Tag me in the social media planet either on Instagram or Facebook or comment and rate below. I am quite proud of my Pinterest account as well because you are going to find over 5k pins with Mediterranean friendly recipes.
See you soon!
- 2.2 pounds (1kg) green beans, fresh or frozen
- 1 big onion or 2 small, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)
- 1 big potato, cubed
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 cups (500g) fresh tomato, chopped or 14 oz (400g) canned tomato
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup to 1 ¼ cup (250 to 300ml) hot water
- 100g olive oil
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon mint, chopped (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot over medium to low heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil. If the green beans are frozen, thaw at room temperature while prepping the rest of your ingredients. If fresh, wash them and snap off the ends. If they are too large, snap each bean in half.
- Add the chopped onion for 2 minutes, the garlic (optional) for another 2 minutes and the carrot, potato and sugar for another 5 minutes. Over high heat, stir in the green beans and sauté for about 8 minutes if fresh and 10-12 minutes if they are frozen. Toss well to coat with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the tomato and the hot water and when it boils IMMEDIATELY lower heat to medium-low. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Then, season to taste and add parsley and mint (optional). Remove the lid and simmer for about another 10 minutes if you like your green beans crunchy or until the green beans are tender enough to your liking (about 10 more minutes).
- Remove from heat and pour in the rest of the olive oil. Stir lightly and serve.
- Serve with feta cheese, a slice of whole wheat bread, olives and a glass of white wine.