Happy Monday everyone! We hope you are enjoying this bank holiday and that you’ve had a lovely Easter.

Greek Easter is still upon us, on the 2nd of May. During all these 40 days that precede our Easter, many choose to fast. Some remove meat from their dishes; others abstain from all animal products. It is the time of the year for dishes made with vegetables, grains and pulses and of course, olive oil!

So this week, we’ve prepared for you a delicious, wholesome dip made with gigantes beans. These giant beans are perhaps the most traditional Greek ingredient. They are the basis for many iconic and absolutely delicious Greek dishes: enjoy them in the classic recipe, oven-baked with tomato sauce or in this lovely spring salad! They are nutritious, super filling and very tasty.

For this dip we’ve used our dark tahini and walnut oil, which add depth and warmth to the buttery beans. The result is a comforting dip that will definitely bring some feasting into the fasting!

Serves 6

150g gigantes beans
5 cups water / vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
50g whole tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving
2 tbsp 21°C walnut oil, plus more for serving
salt
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

The night before soak your beans. The morning after, drain and place your beans in a medium-sized pot with fresh water or vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to medium-high and cook until the beans are soft and buttery, around one hour.

Drain, reserving a bit of the cooking liquid. Set aside to cool for a bit.

In a blender, whiz together the beans, tahini, lemon juice, walnut oil, adding a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen the mixture – if needed. Season with salt.

Serve with plenty of walnut olive oil, more lemon juice, sesame seeds and raw vegetables, crusty bread or pita for dipping


As you may already know we love making dips with pulses. Have you tried our mixed pulses dip? Or our bean dip with roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes?

It’s a great way to eat beans, especially when it’s warm outside and the weather calls for something other than a stew or a soup. So this week we’ve prepared a lovely white dip, using our little small beans from Grevena, in northern Greece. You can use gigantes beans as well if you prefer, but we like these little ones.

We are making it with a few simple ingredients: spring onions and garlic, but you can experiment with any other onions or garlic that you have handy. And we’ve added a secret ingredient, capers!

And as we realised, this dip is also lovely served as a side dish, instead of mashed potatoes or any other mash you may be making. Yum!

Makes one large bowl

250g small beans
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
2 spring onions
2 tbsp capers

The night before soak your beans. The morning after drain, and cook in plenty of water until tender.

Drain the cooked beans, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside and let cool.

Roughly chop the spring onions, garlic and capers.

In a blender blend together the beans, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, spring onions, garlic and capers. You will need to add a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen up the mixture. We used ½ a cup, but you might need a bit more. Once your mixture is smooth transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

We prefer serving this dip on a simple white soup plate. Sometimes simplicity is quite calming, I do not know if you agree?

But if you’re into decorating, then finely chop some spring onions, add some more capers, reserve some of the cooked beans, drizzle some olive oil and add some more lemon zest. Either way, enjoy with some raw vegetables and crusty bread!

 


This week we’ve got a very comforting recipe for you. Soon it will be the beginning of spring, yet some days it still feels like winter. So for those challenging days, there is nothing better than a good casserole dish, to take the blues away.

We are big fans of casseroles, remember our vegan orzo? And then it was the cauliflower with smoked cheese we made a couple of winters ago. This winter, we decided to use beans, as we wanted to feel a bit healthier. And for some reason, beans have that effect. We used small white beans, but you can use gigantes as well.

Our organic beans are harvested every year in farms in northern Greece. You can use them to make your own homemade baked beans, but also add them in soups, stews and grain bowls, like this comforting soup with beans and butternut squash.

This week it’s beans, fragrant pesto and melted graviera cheese. Yum!

Serves 4 with leftovers

200g small beans (you can also choose gigantes butterbeans)
2 bay leaves
2 cups seasonal greens, finely chopped (we used purple kale and spinach)
2 tbsp 17C olive oil
250gr milk or cream
2 eggs
200g graviera cheese, grated
¾ cups pesto (we used our green pistachio pesto)

The night before soak the beans in cold water. The morning after, boil the beans with the bay leaves for around 45 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans and discard the bay leaves.

Steam the greens until soft.

In a bowl whisk together the lemon oil, milk or cream and eggs, adding half of the cheese in the end.

In a casserole, mix together the beans and pesto. Add the eggs-cream mixture and stir everything together, until well mixed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 180C for 30min or until hot and bubbly inside.


Next week is the final week of Lent for us Greeks. As we are all looking forward to the Greek Easter next week, this week, traditionally, we prepare simple recipes that do not contain any animal produce.

But simple doesn’t mean not tasty. And it also doesn’t mean that these recipes can’t be enjoyed throughout the year. Indeed, in the Greek food culture, many of these recipes have become part of the daily diets of people. To learn more about the way us Greeks approach Vegan foods, join our upcoming Cooking Workshop! Our talented Lida is going to be talking about all these foods and has prepared a delicious menu for us. So come along, we have very few spaces left!

This week we’ve prepared something that you can enjoy as a dip or starter -a wonderful addition to your Easter table! But, between you and me, this also makes for a wonderful light dinner, with the addition of some crusty bread. It is spring after all, a cold dinner is sometimes appropriate.

Serves 6 as a starter

150g small white beans
5 sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 25g)
100g roasted red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli vinegar
chilli flakes, lemon wedges, chilli vinegar, olive oil (to serve)

The night before, soak your beans in plenty of water. The morning after, boil them until tender. Set aside and let cool, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a food processor, place the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, olive oil, lemon zest and chilli vinegar. Blend until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer, add some of the cooking liquid, to make the paste smoother.

Serve with chilli flakes, lemon wedges, and more vinegar and olive oil. And of course, pita bread or crusty bread!

Happy Easter everyone!


This week we’ve prepared a classic Greek dish for you. Oven baked gigantes beans is one of the most iconic Greek dishes. With a bit of crusty bread and feta cheese, it makes for an excellent, filling meal.

Of course, this recipe is not the classic one, but has a few interesting new twists. We’ve added a bit of grape molasses to add some sweetness and depth to the tomatoes. And what we are very excited about, we are serving it with our extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil!

This is a product that combines the unique health benefits of our Greek oregano organic essential oil with a special organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, single variety Greek olive oil. This unique food pairing tastes like the Greek sunshine. And it is perfect to enjoy with this classic Greek dish!

 

Serves four

5 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp grape molasses
1 tsp dried oregano
200g giant beans, soaked overnight and boiled in plenty of water
1 bottle of tomato passata
salt
extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil (to serve)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Finely slice the red onions and garlic. In a frying pan and over medium heat place the olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook until caramelised, for around 10-15 minutes, adding the grape molasses half way through.

Once caramelised, placed the onions, garlic and all the juices from the frying pan in an casserole. Add the beans, tomato passata, salt, dried oregano and 200ml of water. Bake covered for 20 min. Uncover and bake for another 20min, until the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a mellow bean stew.

Serve with plenty of extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil!


Well, after a weekend of snow here in London, we might have been a bit hasty celebrating spring last time. But the sun is shining again, so let’s just wait a bit and see, maybe it’s finally here!

This week we’ve got a salad for you. I’m not sure recipes like the one below should be called salads (remember, we’ve had this discussion when we made our pasta salad last spring). But anyhow, these are dishes that feel healthy, are eaten without making you want to fall sleep after and give you energy to get through the day. Just like salads. Yet more filling.

The writer of this blog post grew up hating our main ingredient, gigantes beans, cooked in the traditional fasolada (bean soup). But things change as one grows older, and often we see the same things very differently. And all of us at Oliveology love discovering new ways to cook familiar ingredients.

These beans become soft and buttery when cooked. They are, I must admit, so flavourful that they can stand on their own. However, we’ve added a few things to brighten up their smoothness. Think of roasted broccoli and green peppers, zingy lemon zest and juice and our favourite lemon and herbs kalamata olives. So let’s get started before the weather turns cold again.

1 small head of broccoli
1 large green pepper
a few pinches of dried thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper

100g gigantes beans
vegetable stock or herb stalks, vegetable scraps
salt, pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
½ tub lemon olives

The night before soak your beans in plenty of water.

Cut your broccoli into florets. Use the whole vegetable, just cut the stem in smaller pieces. Cut the pepper into large chunks. In a bowl toss broccoli, green pepper, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking tray and bake at 180 for 30 min or until broccoli is charred and soft.

Place your beans in a medium sized pot, cover with new water and vegetable scraps or stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are tender, around two hours. Season with salt after the beans have softened up.

Drain and let the beans cool. In a salad bowl toss together beans, broccoli, green pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and lemon olives. Taste and add more salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy in the sun. Or snow, who knows anymore?


This week we are into shapes. What do we mean? Well, let me step back a bit. Autumn is in full swing and here at Oliveology we feel it’s time for soups! As always, we walked around the market and selected delicious seasonal vegetables. Yes, butternut squash of course, it is mid autumn after all! Soups, like all foods, should follow the seasons. If it’s summer, make a roasted tomato soup. If it’s winter, go for a vegan lentil soup. If it’s spring, then sugar snap peas and green beans are your ingredients of choice.

For our soup this week, we used tons of fresh, nutritious vegetables and small white beans. This soup feels very healthy, with its white beans, root vegetables, spinach. And for all our non-vegetarian readers, throw in a beef bone for extra flavour and nutrients.

But you know, soups sometimes can be dull. Let me explain myself. Imagine a perfectly pureed soup. Or a soup where all vegetables are cut in identical, symmetrical cubes. Yes, symmetry is often linked to beauty, but how about we spice it up a bit? Not the soup itself, its appearance. How? By cutting our vegetables in various lovely shapes.

Finally, when it comes to the To Blend or Not To Blend question, this one here goes against last year’s smooth pumpkin soup. Up to you to decide which one is your favourite autumn soup!

So, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea and join me as we prepare this year’s butternut squash soup!

For 6 hungry guests you will need:

6 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots
1 small leek
600g butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
2.5 lt of water
200g small white beans
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of spinach
salt, black pepper

For the prep:
The night before, soak your beans in cold water. The morning after, drain.

For the chopping:
Peel the carrots and cut in rounds. Cut your leek in rounds as well.
Peel your butternut squash. Scrape out the seeds (you can save them and toast them separately if you want). Cut thick slices of the butternut squash and then each slice in triangles, following the edges that you created when peeling it.
Finely chop your garlic and onion.
Cut the celery in small cubes.
Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves (but keep separately).

For the soup:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, pour the olive oil. Once heated, add the onions, leek and garlic and stir until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, squash and parsley stalks. Stir until your vegetables begin to caramelise. Add the water and beans and season with salt and black pepper. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours or until beans are soft. A few minutes before serving, add your parsley leaves and spinach.

Serve as is, or with some grated graviera cheese and fresh chilli or pistachio pesto.


As you know we love salads that ain’t exactly salads. By that we mean that they go beyond leafy greens and dressing. Ingredients such as bulgur (and dried prunes!), dakos, favaki or lentils form the basis for colourful, filling dishes. These non-salads are great for a light dinner, and perfect for lunch. If you have leftovers, some of our readers also have them for breakfast, with the addition of a couple of fried eggs. Try it, it actually works!

This week, with fall in its full swing, we will be using black eye beans. These are very popular in the southern United States, cooked with pork for added flavour. In Greece things are, as you may have guessed, simpler. Greeks enjoy these legumes boiled and served simply with olive oil, lemon and a bit of salt. You see, Greek cuisine is all about simplicity in flavours.

And so are we at Oliveology. However, we will of course add a few more ingredients. Vegetables and herbs. And of course, keep the olive oil and lemon. The secret for this recipe is to boil the black eye beans in salted water. So that when you drain them, your main ingredient will be very flavourful on its own. Most of us usually season our dishes in the end. But this trick here makes all the difference.

For this salad, we recommend using parsley. However, you can use whatever herb you prefer. Dill would work great, and so would mint.

Serves 2 for main or 4 as a side
200g black eye beans
1tbsp coarse salt
1 bay leaf
½ cucumber
15 cherry tomatoes
zest of one lemon
1 small bunch of parsley
Plenty of olive oil (to serve)
Lemon juice (to serve)

In a medium-sized pot place the black eye beans, salt and bay leaf. Boil until tender. Strain and let cool.

Slice your cherry tomatoes in half. Dice your cucumber. Finely chop your parsley. Zest the lemon.

In a large bowl mix the black eye beans, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon zest. You can serve your salad at room temperature or cold. Before serving, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and lemon juice.


There are some foods that we are used to buying ready-made. It’s easy and effortless. But have you ever thought that it might be really simple to prepare them at home? When you make something at home you know exactly what goes into your food. No added salt. No added sugar. No additives or preservatives. None of the things that you have no idea what their names mean.

This week, we are sharing with you a great recipe for baked beans. You can have them for breakfast, on toast or with eggs. You can have them for lunch with some feta cheese. You can enjoy them as part of your dinner, filling a baked potato.

So step away from the isle of tins at the supermarket. Get some good quality beans. When the ingredients are good, you have to let them shine. Especially with something as simple as baked beans. Trust us, you’ll never go for the ready-made stuff again.

Serves 3-4 (as a main course or 5-6 as side)

You will need:

250g of small beans
5 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
400g of tomato passata
2 tbs of grape molasses
1 tsp of thyme
1 tbs of smoked paprika
1 tsp of smoked chilli (optional)

Place the beans in a large pot with water and leave overnight. The next day boil them until cooked but not soft. Drain and keep aside.

In a frying pan, gently fry the onion and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, a few splashes of water, the spices and grape molasses. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes so that flavours develop.

Then transfer into a roasting tray. Add the beans and stir, drizzling with the remaining olive oil.

Bake at 180C for approximately 40min until the beans are very soft, adding some water if needed.

Now, would you really go for the tin again?