Beans in Greek cuisine

Legumes are one of the basic elements of the Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean diet and they have fed generations for years and years. Not expensive food, easy to cook and healthy!

Variety of legumes

Variety of legumes

Beans  are a significant source of protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and dietary minerals; for example, a 100 gram (3,5 ounces) serving of cooked chickpeas contains 18% of the Daily Value (DV) for protein, 30% DV for dietary fiber, 43% DV for folate and 52% DV for manganese. Like other plant-based foods, pulses contain no cholesterol and little fat or sodium.

In Greek cuisine there are numerous recipes with legumes, including our national dish the delicious “fasolada” (bean soup). Dishes with beans are very popular during the fasting period “the Lent”. It’s a must for a Greek housewife to prepare a dish with beans at least once a week, if not twice.

Lentil soup

Lentil soup

During the fasting period, bean dishes can be accompanied by pickled vegetables while in non fasting period by pickled fishes like herring or anchovies. Many times, especially in winter we cook them with meat or sausages.

Grilled, salty herring, served with olive oil and lemon juice. The perfect meze!

Grilled, salty herring, served with olive oil and lemon juice. The perfect meze!

It would be our omission not to give you the recipe of the classical dish that Greeks enjoy quite often. Easy to make this soup, delicious and nutritious, perfect for children!

Fasolada (bean soup)


Fasolada (Greek bean soup)

Fasolada (Greek bean soup)

  • 500 gr dry white beans (18 ounces)

  • 5-6 small carrots, chopped

  • 2 large red onions, finely chopped

  • 4 stalks of celery, finely chopped

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 full tbsps tomato puree

  • a pinch of paprika (hot or sweet, according to preference)

  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  • To prepare the fasolada (Greek bean soup), place the beans in a saucepan with plenty of cold water to cover them and leave them overnight. Another way is to bring them to the boil, turn the heat down and leave them for 30 minutes. Then drain them and add fresh water and boil them until tender.

  • Finely chop the onion, celery and carrots and add them in the pan.

  • Boil until both the beans and the vegetables are tender.

  • Towards the end of cooking time, pour in the olive oil, the tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Boil for a few more minutes, until the soup becomes thick and creamy.

  • Serve this traditional Greek bean soup (fasolada) while still steaming hot with a few Kalamata olives, pickled vegetable or salty herring and of course some village bread. A glass of a good red wine would match perfectly. Enjoy!

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