Treating yourself to some authentic Greek food in a restaurant is a great way to spend an evening. But you can also have authentic Greek food from your kitchen, and you don’t have to be Greek to do that.
For instance, you can prepare the national food of the Greeks in your own kitchen. We are going to prepare Fasolada or fasoulada or fasolia, which all mean the same thing. It is a soup of dry white beans, olive oil and vegetables. There are different international versions of this soup in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Although the origins of this soup is in ancient Greece. Fasolada, having no meat, is used as food and sacrifice given to the Greek God Apollo during the Pyanopsia Festival. If you want a meat version, do it the Italian way.
This is a healthy food, and is rich in protein and vitamin B. It is also more filling because of its fiber content.
Choosing the Beans
Fasolada uses dry white beans. The Greeks use Cannellini beans – the fresh dried beans that have not been around for long. If they have, then you would need to boil them a longer time. The whiter the beans are the better. And that is not a racist thing to say, even to a bean. If they are not as white, it means they have been around for a while.
The exterior of the beans should be smooth. It should not be peeling, or looking puffed up.
You can also use Lima beans instead of Cannellini.
If your beans are fresh, as explained above, you won’t have to soak them overnight.
Here are the ingredients you need: (8 servings)
(1 hour 30 minutes approximate time of preparation)
½ kg dried navy beans (cannellini beans are used in traditional Greek cooking)
4 tbsp. Tomato paste
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups potatoes, diced
1.5 cups celery, diced
1.5 cups onions, diced
1.5 cups carrots, diced
1/3 tsp red chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation of the beans:
- Soak the beans overnight in water, unless you know for sure your beans are fresh;
- OR, if you don’t soak overnight, in a saucepan, put the beans in with cold water, enough to cover it;
- Bring to a boil in high heat, then turn down to medium heat until beans are slightly tender. Not cooked, just parboiled. This can take 35 minutes;
- Drain the beans and set aside.
Preparation of the vegetables:
- Chop the vegetables;
- Place the olive oil in a deep pan, and then add the vegetables and blend;
- Sauté it for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste, and sauté for a minute more.
- In a separate pot, boil water;
- In the pan of vegetables, add the parboiled beans and boiling water, enough to cover the beans and vegetables;
- Put lid on the pan, and simmer for 35 minutes or until beans are tender;
- Before cooking time ends pour in olive oil and add seasoning to taste;
- Keep cooking until soup is thick and creamy.
- You can serve this with fresh bread or some crusty bread;
- Or eat it with kalamata olives;
- You can put some feta cheese on top, or on the side, or parmesan cheese;
- If you want it with some wallop, you can add chili drops on top. Or, while cooking, put in some paprika.
Greek food is mostly vegetables, olive oil and cheese. These are staples in their cuisine. You would love this soup because it is healthy yet filling to the stomach.