Fasolada (Greek bean soup) is considered to be the national dish of Greece. It is a typical Mediterranean dish that uses legumes, vegetables, and olive oil.
This recipe is the one that I've learned from my mother. When I was a child she used to cook it on a wood-burner stove and let it there until thick and creamy. Nowadays, she cooks it in a pressure cooker like I do to minimize the cooking time.
What is fasolada?
Fasolada is a classic bean soup with a dense broth and a rich, tasty flavor. We make it by simmering beans and vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery. Olive oil is added to the broth, and tomato is commonly used. Recipes vary considerably throughout Greece, with different varieties of beans, and/or the addition of meat (sausage).
Ingredients for the Greek bean soup
Beans: Use dry white beans, like navy or cannellini beans, and soak them overnight. In Greece, we also have a variety called vanilla beans. They are very small, with thin skin, and sweet flavor. If you can find vanilla beans, I definitely recommend buying them.
Carrots: Carrots add sweetness to the soup, and are also very nutritious. High in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene.
Onions: We use onions as a flavoring in almost every Greek dish. They provide a sweet, mild flavor to fasolada, and also have a high content of antioxidants.
Pepper: I am using a red bullhorn pepper. In Greece, we call them "piperies Florinis". They are very rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Celery: I am using celery leaves and stalks in the soup. It gives a mild, fresh flavor to the dish, and it's very aromatic. Celery is a good source of fiber.
Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for optimal results.
Tomato: You can use tomato sauce, tomato paste, or fresh tomatoes.
Spices: Salt and black pepper are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Sometimes, bay leaves or oregano are also added to the dish. I am adding smoked paprika and chili flakes when I want my soup to be extra spicy.
Tips & tricks
If you forgot to soak the beans, place them in a pot with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, and boil for 35 minutes until tender.
Do not add the salt until the last 5 minutes of boiling, otherwise, the beans will be tough.
The cooking time depends on how old the beans are. Good quality fresh dry white beans are better for this recipe.
When the soup is ready, you can add ½ tablespoon lemon juice. This makes the beans easier to digest.
Cook fasolada in a pressure cooker to minimize the time in half. Boil the beans first for 15 to 20 minutes, and then open the pressure cooker, add the rest of the ingredients, and close it again. Cook for about 40-45 minutes and the soup is ready.
How to serve the Greek Bean Soup
Usually, we serve fasolada with Kalamata olives, crusted bread, salted fish, and pickled vegetables. We like it served with politiki salad.
How to store the Greek Bean Soup
Store fasolada in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze fasolada, after cooling completely, for up to 1 month.
Traditional Greek Bean Soup (Fasolada)
- 17.6 oz/500g dry white beans (cannellini or navy)
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large red onion
- 1 bullhorn red pepper
- ⅓ cup/80ml olive oil extra virgin
- 3 sprigs celery leaves
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 tbsp/30ml tomato paste
- ¼ cup/60ml tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Soak the beans for 8-12 hours (overnight). Fill a bowl with enough water to cover the beans completely. Also, add a pinch of salt.
- Drain the beans and rinse them with cold water.
- Place the beans in a large pot and put enough fresh water just to cover them.
- Bring to a boil, and lower to medium heat
- Simmer the beans for about 30 minutes.
- While the beans cook, prepare the vegetables and sauce. Finely chop the onion and the bullhorn pepper. Slice the carrots 2cm round and chop the celery sprigs.
- Add the vegetables, half of the olive oil, tomato paste, tomato puree, oregano, black pepper, paprika powder, and red chilli flakes(if applicable) in the bean pot, and let it simmer over lower/medium heat for 60-90 minutes.
- Towards the end of the cooking, add the rest of the olive oil, and salt.
- When the beans are soft and the sauce is thick, the soup is ready.
Servings: 1 (166g) | Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1.862g | Trans Fat: 0.006g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 1732mg | Fiber: 14.4g | Sugar: 5.36g | Vitamin A: 3707IU | Vitamin C: 16.1mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 9.4mg