Fasolakia Lathera (φασολάκια λαδερά) - braised green beans

Lathera dishes are a wonderful genre. Plenty of vegetables slow cooked in olive oil and tomato with lots of herbs. Lathera are normally made with seasonal vegetables like green beans or okra in summer and in winter, I would ordinarily make this type of dish with cauliflower or peas (see the recipe here) but as the season has been so mild - I couldn't resist the green beans and fresh green garlic at my local market.

Fasolakia (the Greek word for beans) is eaten in our house as a main dish, with a little whole wheat bread or barley rusks, olives and of course, feta cheese. This is such a delicious way to get a big intake of vegetables. You are not aiming for crunchy green beans in the dish - but ones that simply melt when you eat them. I'm fairly sure that lathera dishes are the secret of the Greek-Mediterranean diet. My husband was raised on them and it made his love of consuming lots of vegetables effortless. You simply don't need meat with this type of dish because it is so rich and filling by itself - and you cover off about four servings of vegetables in one sitting! This dish is rich in fiber, antioxidants, good fats and plenty of vitamins.

A word of advice - don't skimp on the olive oil, you really do need a quarter to half a cup. After all, "Lathera" means "the dishes with the oil". The oil brings out all of the flavours in the dish - and brings together all of those antioxidants and vitamins - magnifying their nutritional value, by increasing their absorption. You can add a few potatoes to this dish to fill it out a little, or you can have it without, lowering the carbohydrates.

Fasolakia Lathera (φασολάκια λαδερά) - braised green beans
At least 1/4 cup good Greek olive oil (my mother in law recommends 1/2 a cup)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2-3 heads & green stems of fresh green garlic (or 4-5 cloves of garlic)
1/2 kg fresh green beans
4 medium tomatoes, grated
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 cinammon quills
A pinch of Greek sea salt (feta will add salt later)
A pinch of sugar (if tomstoes are not fully 'high summer' ripe)
A good teaspoon of Aleppo pepper
1. Sauté the onions for a few minutes in medium pot with the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes more.
2. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, Aleppo pepper, cinnamon and half the parsley and let it come to a boil.
3. Add the green beans and lower the heat and let them simmer until soft and tender about an hour.
4. Serve a room temperature (it is also great the following day) topped with crumbled feta and the remaining parsley.


1 comment

  1. You couldn't make a dish that I'd like better than these green beans. I LOVE this dish and I'm really looking forward to trying your recipe.


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Maira Gall