Greeting from Idaho! I arrived a few days ago to wild fire smoke and high 80s temperatures, but yesterday the air had cleared up and it was in the 60s and even rained a little bit, and it seemed like a good time to revisit this simple, tasty, soup that was one of the original recipes when I took this blog public.
There’s not much new to say about this. It’s still a simple bean and tomato soup. I think the only thing I would really add is that, depending how soft you like your beans, you might want to par cook them in plain water for a while before adding them to the soup. While I think the theory that adding salt too early keeps your beans from softening is mostly an old wives tale, cooking them with acid (i.e. tomato) most definitely keeps them from softening very fast. It took nearly two hours to get to a point where they were simply firm, and not still crunchy, which I now remember happening the first time I made it as well. I’m adjusting the recipe to reflect that.
I apologize that I STILL don’t have process pictures for this. I didn’t realize until we were eating it that I never took pictures of the cooking process when I originally added pictures. Maybe we’ll come back to this again in another couple years.
Keep reading for my original post form 2019 (slightly edited to reflect longer cooking time.)
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.
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.