Fasolada - Our national dish!

Nov 1, 2011

   Most tourists who visit Greece, are familiar with popular dishes like mousaka or souvlaki but probably no one knows that fasolada  (bean soup) is actually considered to be our national dish!  Why such a humble food?  

   In the old days when meat wasn’t available to everyone, beans were the main source of nutrients. As late as the Second World War, thousands of people survived thanks to soup kitchens offering fasolada. Nowadays, fasolada is a favorite winter dish and there is even a special day, - Shrove Monday -when everyone eats fasolada at home or in open air festivals where we also traditionally fly kites.

     Many varieties of beans have been cultivated in Greece since the 16th - 17th century. The fact that beans can be easily cultivated in various soil qualities, helped to spread them all over the country. Kastoria in northern Greece is a place where some of the tastiest beans are produced from local varieties. In our tavern we use beans from the area of Ancient Feneos here in the Peloponnesus. They are also famous and really nice.
Small white beans are used to make fasolada together with carrots, onion, celery and tomato. This soup is served with side dishes like taramosalata and olives. 

Serves  6

500gr small white beans (also called navy beans or pea beans)
1 cup olive oil
1-2 carrots chopped
1 onion finally chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
150gr chopped tomato
1tsp tomato puree (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Beans are usually soaked overnight but what happens if a bean soup is a last minute decision? Well try this method.
Put the beans in a large covered cooking pot with two litres of water, bring to boil, and let them cook for 10 minutes. Then discard the water by straining the beans and put them back into the pot. This will also make them lighter to digest. Next, add 1,5 litres  of hot water to the beans and cook them in the covered pot for 30’-40’. Then add all the other ingredients and simmer another 30’-40’ more or until the beans are tender. Cooking time depends on the bean variety you use.  


  1. My grandma used to make a soup similar to this one, but she added chickpeas, red beans corn and fried chopped lamb (kawarma) to it. It was my perfect winter comfort food.

    1. Aya, in some mountainous regions of Greece, chopped sausages are also added in fasolada.

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