Baked giant beans and cabbage salad with mustard-yogurt dressing

Jan 30, 2012

              Beans are widely used in Greek cuisine. Small ones are used for soups and salads but those bigger in size are ideal for cooking in the oven. When I say bigger I really mean “giant beans”!!! Giant beans (also referred to as ''elephants'') are called butter beans in English and are cultivated mostly in northern Greece because they thrive in cooler mountainous regions. 

              They would look funny in a soup but many recipes for baked giant beans have been invented all over the country according to each region’s eating habits. The most common version is to bake the beans in tomato sauce with carrots and celery. This is the version commonly found in houses and taverns; other versions with spinach or sausage are found in northern Greece where the climate calls for spicy food. Giant beans are also a classic meze for ouzo.

               Cabbage with its natural sweetness adds taste to many winter dishes but raw cabbage makes very nice salads too, - with sliced orange, apple, and mayonnaise or with just a nice mustard dressing like the one I present here. In Greece we often eat cabbage-carrot salad with only extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice added. 

For the Beans:

500gr giant beans
500gr ripe tomatoes chopped
1 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
2 carrots chopped
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
1 Tsp sugar
1 cup hot water
Salt and pepper to taste

             Put the beans in a pot, cover them with 2 litres of water and let them soak overnight. The following day rinse the beans and discard the water. Put them back in the pot with enough water to cover them and simmer for about 30-40min or until the beans are tender. Rinse again, discard the water and put the beans in a baking pan.

                In a sauce pan put half of the olive oil, add the onion and cook until onion has wilted. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, garlic, hot water, sugar and cook the sauce for 5 min; we just want flavors to combine. Pour the tomato sauce over the beans in the baking pan and drizzle with the rest of the olive oil. Cook for about 40 min., or until the sauce has thickened. Serve warm.

For the Salad Dressing:
2Tsp Greek yogurt
3Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp mustard
1tsp fresh lemon juice

                 In a small bowl mix all the ingredients of the dressing with a fork, season with salt and pepper and pour over the cabbage salad. Enjoy!

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