Fassolakia yahni (pr. fah-soh-LAH-khia Yheea-HNEE),is a traditional Greek vegan and gluten free dish with green beans and potatoes in tomato sauce, which is easy, tasty, cheap and healthy.
Yahni is the method of cooking and is similar to a stew or ragout.
If you are a meat lover, I have you covered. You can find the instructions to make this dish with lamb, below.
In Greece we get two types of green beans. Barbounia, which are flat and tsaoulia, which are the round ones. ( I am not sure but I think the round ones are called string beans and the flat one runner beans). You can use either type but I always buy barbounia as I find them much tastier.
Fassolakia can be cooked in many ways. In Greek cuisine we blanche them and eat them with olive oil and lemon juice, as a salad or stew them with or without meat.
Fassolakia Yiahni a very simple Greek recipe, coming under the category called “ladera”, which means “oily” because they consist of stove-top or oven-cooked dishes with vegetables or legumes, cooked with olive oil. These dishes are made using very few ingredients but then using olive oil makes anything tastier.
In the winter I make them with frozen green beans and use canned tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste.
However, now that the tomatoes are cheap and juicy, I cook them with ripe fresh tomatoes, which also adds additional taste and flavour.
I always add parsley and sometimes I may add just a little bit of dill (or fennel fronds, if you like the taste) as well.
I don’t remember if I have explained before the reason why I add the herbs at the end but when these herbs are cooked for a long time they loose their flavour and aroma, so it is best to add them in the end.
As I said in other posts, when I go to the farmers’ market, I usually buy a lot of vegetables and of course you can’t eat everything in one day.
In Greece, we also buy fresh fish at the farmers’ market, so what I do is if I have bought fish, I cook the fish the same day and start cooking the following days with what is more perishable. If I have bought spinach or other greens, I cook them first.
Other vegetables like green beans can be cooked later on. So, in the evening when I relax to watch T.V. I peel the green beans, wash them, dry them and leave them in the refrigerator. If I do not plan to cook them within the next 2 – 3 days, I freeze them. I also do this with peas or okra.
How to Peel (de-string) green beans to make Fassolakia Yiahni
Cut the two edges with a sharp knife. Then cut a thing layer of the green beans around it, until the string is removed.
If you have a vegetable peeler, you can use it instead of the knife to remove the strings.
Wash the green beans and put them in a colander to dry. You can then cook them right away or put them in zip-lock bags and freeze them to use at a later stage.
Having done most of the preparation the previous day, then they are so easy to cook even for busy moms who work and don’t have enough time. I used to cook them when I was working and by the time we had breakfast and got ready for work they were done.
I also do this now that it is hot and want to go to the beach. This morning before going to the beach, it was so easy to cook them early in the morning. It didn’t take more than fifteen minutes to prepare them and less than an hour to cook them. I do the same with other vegetables which need to be shelled, such as peas or other beans.
My mother used to cook them with lamb but as I am not a big fan of meat, so I prefer to stew them with some potatoes, to make a filling meal.
During Easter, I had some leftover lamb which I added to this stew and made it really delicious but eating it once a year is more than enough for our taste.
How to make Fassolakia Yiahni with lamb:
Wash and cut the meat into portions. Put it in a colander to dry.
Ina non-stick sautéing pan, sauté the meat in olive oil over medium heat until well browned. Remove to a pot.
Add the onion and sauté, until translucent then add the garlic and mix for a few seconds. Add the tomato, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the meat and add enough water to cover the meat. Cook for about 45 minutes until the meat is almost tender.
Add the beans and potatoes (add more water if necessary) and cook for 45 more minutes. Finally add the parsley and cook for 2 – 3 more minutes.
- 1 kilo of fresh or frozen green beans (I prefer runner beans called barbounia)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 big potatoes cut in 4 or 6 pieces each
- 1 vegetable bouillon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 – 5 ripe fresh tomatoes peeled and pureed or 1 1/2 cups tomato passata
- 1 - 2 cups of water (less water will be needed, if using fresh tomatoes)
- ½ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- Cut the ends and with a vegetable peeler remove the strings of the beans. Wash them and leave them in a colander to drain.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the beans and mix for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and the vegetable bouillon.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- In a food processor blend the tomatoes together and add them to the beans, as well as some water to cover them.
- Bring to boil, cover with lid, lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until potatoes are soft and water has evaporated, leaving a nice, thick sauce.
- Five minutes before the end mix in the parsley.
- Serve with a salad and some feta.
How to make this dish with lamb:
- Wash and cut the meat into portions. Put it in a colander to dry.
- Ina non-stick sautéing pan, sauté the meat in olive oil over medium heat until well browned. Remove to a pot.
- Add the onion and sauté, until translucent then add the garlic and mix for a few seconds. Add the tomato, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and add enough water to cover the meat. Cook for about 45 minutes until the meat is almost tender.
- Add the beans and potatoes (add more water if necessary) and cook for 45 more minutes. Finally add the parsley and cook for 2 - 3 more minutes.
Nutrition InformationYield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 298Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 0mgSodium 117mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 11gSugar 19gProtein 8g