Summer Bean Soup

This week we’re continuing our discovery of traditional Greek recipes and have prepared a hearty, summery bean soup for you. Fasolada, as bean soup is called in Greek, is a dish eaten throughout the year, but mostly in the winter. Beans are cooked with tomato, water, and vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery leaves. Bay leaf is a must here.

This recipe, adapted from my favourite 1989 recipe calendar is the summer version of this dish and comes from the island of Crete. It uses seasonal vegetables such as peppers which are found in abundance in farmers’ markets this time of the year.

We used our small white beans, which are harvested every year in organic farms in northern Greece. You can also use gigantes beans, or any other bean you prefer. In this recipe, we’ve used a very unique ingredient. Carob molasses! Made from 100% Cretan carob pods, it is cold-extracted and with no added sugar. It has a mild, sweet taste which adds sweetness and depth to our soup.

Serves 2 with leftovers

130g small beans
1 medium red onion
5 cups of water
2 carrots
1 stick of celery
2 large peppers
400ml tomato passata or 2 large tomatoes crushed
salt, pepper
1 tbsp carob molasses
½ cup olive oil
Dakos carob rusks and feta cheese (to serve)

The night before soak your beans in cold water. The morning after drain the beans and place them in a heavy-bottomed pot or casserole with 5 cups of water. Finely chop the onion and add it to your pot. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to medium-high, cover and let your beans cook for half an hour.

As your beans are cooking prepare your vegetables: Peel and slice the carrots. Slice the celery, and cut the peppers in bite-sized pieces. Add the vegetables in the bean pot, along with the tomato passata. Season with salt and let the soup cook over medium heat, covered, for an hour or so, until the beans are tender.

When your beans are cooked, add the carob molasses and olive oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with Dakos carob rusks and feta cheese.

This soup is perfect eaten hot, but also at room temperature if you prefer.

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