One of the great culinary traditions of the Mediterranean cuisine is learning to enjoy and appreciate the deliciousness of veggies. Eating something that is vegan or vegetarian is not limited to a simple green salad or pasta with marinara sauce. In Greece for example, vegetarian dishes are wonderfully seasonal, aromatic and have tremendous depth of flavor allowing them to be the main dish on any table and not just a simple side dish.
One such dish is Greek-style stewed green beans. Although enjoyed year round, this dish is perfect during late summer and early fall when the green beans are at their height of flavor. The type of beans most often used for this recipe are thick beans with a well developed legume such as wide bush or Romano beans. The thickness allows them to hold up well with the long cooking time and the developed legumes are more filling and provide more of a nutritional punch. Any available green bean type can be substituted (green beans, wax beans, long beans). You will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly (cut cooking time by about 30 minutes for any bean type that does not have a developed legume inside).
Cooking is what provides complexity of flavor in this dish; both in length and style. First you cook in layers by sauteing and browning to build flavor but eventually you just let these beans slowly simmer for about 1.5 hours. It's this long cooking time that transforms this dish and gives it this velvety, complex and deep flavor. The addition of potatoes at the end adds a bit more substance to the dish and is the perfect vehicle for soaking up all the wonderful juices when eating. This dish is usually accompanied by some good crusty bread, a few olives and a wedge of feta cheese.
We hope you give it a try and enjoy!
Greek Style Stewed Green Beans (Vegan)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1.5 hours Serves: 4-6
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium onions (chopped)
5 cloves of garlic (chopped fine)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 lbs of green beans (what kind)
3-4 allspice berries
3 medium sized tomatoes (grated) or one 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
1 sprig of basil (just the leaves removed and roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon of pepper
1.5 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
2 potatoes (peeled and quartered)
|Step 1: Saute onions, garlic and bay leaves in olive oil until soft and have begun browning around edges (about 10 minutes)|
|Step 2: Add paprika in oil/onion/garlic mixture, mix and let it toast for about a minute|
Step 3: Add grated tomatoes, beans, all-spice and herbs into the pot. Add enough water to just about cover the vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer (low to medium heat) for about 1 hour
Step 4: After an hour add the potatoes that have been quartered. Continue cooking for 30 more minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature with crusty bread, olives and some crumbles of feta cheese. Tastes even better the following day. Enjoy!