Fasolakia

A bowl of fasolakia Greek green beans with feta and crusty bread
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A grove’s worth of golden olive oil, ruby red tomatoes, and fragrant fresh garlic and herbs like dill and parsley come together to make a delicious braising liquid for fresh green beans and creamy potatoes in this classic Greek fasolakia recipe. 

You May Not Realize It, But Actually You Love Green Beans.

At least, you will once you’ve had a bite of this tender, classic Greek-style green bean preparation. String beans braised gently with garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, fresh dill and plenty of olive oil, our fasolakia recipe will make a green bean lover out of even the staunchest of critics. Ultra-savory and fragrant, we suggest adding some good, crusty bread and a hunk of creamy, salty feta cheese to this delicious vegetarian dinner. 

Ingredients laid out for Fasolakia Greek Green Beans tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions, feta

What is Braising?

Oh, braising! You glorious, misunderstood cooking method, you. In short, braising is a way of cooking that uses both dry and moist heat to cook food until it is beautifully tender. The word “braise” often calls to mind big hunks of meat, and indeed, with its low heat and long cooking times, braising is a wonderful way of cooking certain cuts of beef. But it’s also a pretty magical way of imbuing vegetables with rich, powerful flavors, particularly an otherwise mild-tasting vegetable as it does with these humble braised green beans. 

How to Trim Green Beans

This is one of those supposedly tedious kitchen jobs that we actually really enjoy doing by hand. There are all kinds of tips and tricks for trimming a big mound of green beans in a hurry—and we’ll cover that. But we say gather the family around the table, give everyone a little pile, and make a green bean trimming party of it! Many hands make light work, and all that. So, without further ado, here are two ways to prep green beans: 

  • Trim green beans with a knife: take a moment to arrange your green beans so that all of the tough, stem ends are facing the same direction. Cut off the stem ends in one cut with your knife. You don’t need to cut off the other end—it’s perfectly fine to eat. 
  • Trim green beans by hand: Snap off the stem ends with your hands! If your green beans are fresh, they should snap right off. And if you’re like us, you’ll find that snap to be really satisfying. 
Fasolakia Greek Green Beans with potatoes, tomatoes, and feta

How to Cook Green Beans (and Actually Love Them)

When all is said and done, our tomato-y, garlicky Greek green beans recipe will take you about an hour. But only 10-15 minutes of that is active time—in fact, one of the most important tips we have for braising green beans in this way is NOT to stir them as they braise. 

  1. Warm the olive oil, onion and garlic for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook a little more. 
  2. Potato time! Add the cut potatoes and stir thoroughly to combine. 
  3. Now, no more stirring! Lay the green beans on top of the potato-tomato mixture and DO NOT STIR. Add parsley, dill and just enough water to cover the beans. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Braise! Turn the heat down as low as it'll go, cover and cook until the beans are tender. This takes about half an hour. Cook uncovered at the very end if you need to cook off any excess liquid.
  5.  You’re done! Your house should be full of good smells and very hungry tummies. Time to feast! 
Fasolakia Greek Green Beans with potatoes, tomatoes and feta and crusty bread

Kali Orexi! 

Kali orexi means “good appetite”—in other words, the Greek version of “bon appetit!”. We hope this Greek green bean recipe is a hit in your home! Snap a photo of your finished fasolakia, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to, and then tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see! 

Fasolakia

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil over a medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook till soft (approx 2-3 minutes).
  2. Add the canned or fresh tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and stir thoroughly to combine.
  4. Add the green beans by laying them on top of the potato mixture. DO NOT STIR.
  5. Over the green beans add the parsley, dill and enough water (depending on the size of your pot) to just cover the beans. Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes then stir all the ingredients together.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and lower the heat to a low setting and cover and cook for another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Season with more salt if needed.
  7. Enjoy with a chunk of feta cheese and plenty of crusty, artisan bread.

*This dish’s savory, fresh flavor is only enhanced the next day and is fabulous reheated.

A special thanks to Mary Raftopoulou-Knea for sharing her family recipe.