Saturday 18 November 2017

Traditional beans

Bean soup - fassolatha

Fibre rich beans, lots of olive oil, carrots, celery and tomatoes, this soup is a super-winter-food, considered the national dish of greece.

One year at the end of September, as the rains approached and temperatures dropped we were at a Navy holiday camp. Meals were served in a large dining room with a selection of dishes including pork chops, stuffed tomatoes, roast chicken, fresh fish and all sorts of macaroni.  When the weather got colder this famous greek dish, fassolatha, appeared on the menu and there was always a scuffle or two as everyone raced towards the bean soup and left the roast chicken and macaroni for me and the French woman, the only two non-greeks.

On the other hand my two girls hated fassolatha even though they were brought up here and one of them eats sheep's eyes. They would empty their plates into the rubbish or probably out the window behind my back. I can't understand how I didn't notice. The little devils didn't tell me till years later.

The basic ingredient is dried beans (navy beans, lima beans?) which must be soaked overnight.    I put these in the pressure cooker the next day with lots of water and cook them for about 20 minutes or until  they are softened without being overcooked.

Open up the pressure cooker, or pot,  making sure there is a good covering of water and add chopped carrots, celery and onion.  Our celery is called selino and is a plant which looks very much like parsley.  You can use your thick stemmed celery cut finely.

I also like to put in a few handfuls of chopped leeks.

Boil these all together with the beans for 45 minutes to an hour or until the vegetables and beans are  very soft.


Two spoons of tomato puree
 a wine glass of olive oil
fresh tomato chopped or a tin of crushed tomatoes
  something to give a little heat, chili, paprika or 1/4 tsp of this russian chili paste which will blast your boots off!

Add the salt at the end of cooking.  Salt is supposed to make the beans tough.

Simmer the soup till everything comes together and thickens nicely

Serve with feta cheese, olives

Salted sardines in olive oil and vinegar
or a tin of sardines
or some smoked mackeral

You need stale bread with fassolatha.  Cut it into chunks and add it to the plate of soup.  The bread soaks up the liquid and makes it a very filling meal.

Drink lots of  red wine


  1. My kids loved it. Specially during winter and yes lots and lots of crusty bread

    1. You sure they weren't giving it to the dog??

  2. That looks good, the only thing i don't have here is russian chili, i don't know what it is.

    1. The Russian chili is just a very hot sauce I found one day in a supermarket. Paprika is just as good

  3. Delicious. We make similar soups here. Soup is eaten at every lunchtime, so variations are essential.

    1. Healthy lifestyle! I had vegetable soup today. Whatever vegetables are available or in the fridge. Puree. Eat. Lovely.

  4. I still cant eat it.Yiak yiak.But my kids love so i have to make it for them.Dont even like cooking it.

    1. You sure Spot wasn't getting fat on fassolatha????