Fasolada, fasoulada or sometimes fasolia (Arabic: فاصوليا), (Greek: φασολάδα, φασουλάδα or φασόλια) is a Greek, Mediterranean, and Cypriot soup of dry white beans, olive oil, and vegetables, sometimes called the “national food of the Greeks“.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasolada
Fasolada is another bean and tomato soup. This one’s deliciousness, like so many other Mediterranean dishes, comes from generous amounts of olive oil, both in the initial cooking and poured over the top when serving. Of course this means that you’ll want to make sure you have a good bottle of tasty extra virgin olive oil.
While you can certainly use any white bean for this soup, I’d recommend a larger one- at least great northern, if not cannellini or lima.
One of the things I like about cooking is exploring how changing just a few things can so drastically change the final flavor. Look back a couple posts at the bob chorba recipe. There are 15 ingredients in fasolada and 17 in bob chorba. One uses olive oil, the other uses sunflower oil. One uses fresh tomato, the other a combination of canned products. One has crushed red pepper, the other cayenne. One has bay leaves. One has bell pepper. One has mint and savory. Everything else is the same, and even the quantities are mostly pretty similar. Yet somehow you have very different soups. I mean, yes, they are still both tomato and bean soups. They’re obviously closely related. And both delicious. But those small differences add up to very different flavors.
(Edited 9/14/22. Changed cooking time to reflect that acid from the tomatoes drastically slows the softening of beans.)
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes-1 hour
1 lb. dry white beans
7 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ribs celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large red onion, diced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
½ cup tomato puree
⅓ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups chicken broth + water
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
⅓ cup parsley
3 15-oz cans cannelini beans (in place of dry beans- reduce cooking time to about 20 minutes)
½ teaspoon cumin
1 lemon, zest & juice
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cube vegetable bouillion
1 red apple, whole (remove before serving)
chili flakes (garnish)
1 ½ Tablespoons vinegar
1 ½ cups diced tomato
Pick over beans and remove any broken beans or foreign matter. Cover with water and soak overnight. Drain.
Add 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a heavy soup pot. Add celery, carrot, garlic and onion, and sweat until soft, 5-8 minutes.
Add tomato paste. Saute 1-2 minutes. Stir in bay leaves, tomato puree, dried herbs and spices and beans. Add broth if using, and/or enough (additional) water to cover beans by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, 90 minutes to two hours. (For faster cooking and softer beans, you can par cook the beans in plain water for 20-30 minutes, then drain and add to the rest of the soup, and continue to cook until the beans are soft, roughly 45 minutes to an hour total cooking time.)
Add remaining olive oil and simmer 2-3 minutes more.
Season with Salt and Pepper, add parsley.
Serve with greek olives, cubes of feta and crusty bread.