Fasolada. Traditional Greek Bean Soup. The National Dish of Greece.

Fasolada Traditional Greek bean soup The national dish of Greece
Traditional Greek bean soup
The national dish of Greece
Fasolada, Greek bean soup, a very nourishing dish, lots of protein, fibre and iron, just the thing,
for an autumn day, and, what a nice surprise for MGG (My Greek God).

He loves it, my Mother-in-law told me, it’s all he ever wanted to eat when he was small, if she asked what he wanted for lunch his answer was inevitably fasolada!

I haven’t made it since the end of last winter.

As soon as the first hint of autumn hits, Greeks everywhere, start thinking about fasolada, the national dish of Greece.

Dry white beans
Dry white beans

That’s right, Greece’s national dish is not moussaka, not souvlaki, not tsatsiki, it’s fasolada, bean soup!

How happy MGG was when I asked him to bring home carrots and celery, he knew straight away what I was going to make.

Carrots, celery and Greek feta cheese
Carrots, celery and Greek feta cheese

Meanwhile, I put the beans that had been soaking all night, on to boil, once boiling I turned down the hob and left them to simmer for an hour.

Fasolada is easy to prepare, once all ingredients are in the pan, keep your eye on it, give it the occasional stir and that’s it.

Once MGG arrived home with the shopping, I began preparing the soup.

 As with most recipes, from all over the world, there are many variations on the Greek bean soup, here is my version.

This recipe makes enough delicious fasolada for foor to six people.



500g dry white beans (I use medium or small size, dry , white beans)

2 large  onions.  Chopped

2 cloves garlic.   Chopped

A good sized bunch of celery

1 bay leaf

6 carrots.   Chopped

A carton of pummaro ( passata)

Salt & pepper

A good glug of olive oil, about ¾ cup


As I said, I soak the beans overnight, you don’t have to do this, but it means extra cooking time if you don’t.

Having cooked fasolada both ways, with and without soaking overnight, I prefer the soaking overnight version.

  After boiling the beans for an hour, drain in a colander, rinse, put back in the pan, half fill pan with hot water and add the chopped onions, garlic,carrots, chopped celery and the bay leaf.

 Add the tomato puree or whatever type of tomato you are using and finally the olive oil.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

When I am cooking any type of pulse; beans, lentils etc, I always add the salt after about an hour’s boiling otherwise the skins can be tough.

I leave the salt out next to the pan so as not to forget to add it, which has happened!

Another tip; don’t use beans that have been too long in the cupboard, they will take forever to soften up, if they ever do!

The whiter they are the better, if they are a dark cream or a yellowish colour they are too old.

Bring soup to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one, to one and a half hours, until beans are tender and the soup is thick and creamy.

That's it!

Traditionally, fasolada is accompanied by feta cheese, olives and a raw onion.

  Fasolada with Kalamata olives, feta cheese and raw onion.
Fasolada with Kalamata olives, feta cheese and raw onion.

Another tradition, is serving fasolada with salted, smoked herring, renga, in Greek.

Kippers to me!

Renga Greek salted, smoked herring
Greek salted, smoked herring
 Another version of fasolada, is white fasolada, meaning, no tomato puree is added, otherwise, the recipe is the same.

This is served with an extra olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.

When I queried MMG about white fasolada, if he had ever eaten it, his answer was;

"Why, I'm not ill am I ?"

Doesn't seem such a good idea then!

"White" Fasolada Photo from Dianekochilas.com
"White" Fasolada
Photo from Dianekochilas.com

I've never sampled white fasolada, in fact, I've never seen it, it was rather difficult to even find a picture of it.

Maybe it's popular in another region of Greece.

MGG enjoying his favourite Greek dish Fasolada
MGG enjoying his favourite Greek dish
Obviously, MGG prefers red fasolada, he wolfed it down, and went for seconds!

I'm sure he'll eat it again tonight for his supper, and if there's any left, which I doubt, he'll eat it again tomorrow!

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