Greek White Beans with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese-Fasolia Yiahni

July 21, 2014
Greek white beans with tomato sauce and feta

Beans, not the green kind but the ones also known as pulses or legumes are such an important part of the Greek diet. Whether they are used in soups. patties, roasted or stewed, the flavor is something that is highlighted along with the other ingredients. Greeks don’t hide their beans in pasta sauce nor do they mix them in salads. Beans take center stage in the Greek cuisine.

For me the best and easiest way to enjoy beans is with the standard tomato preparation Greeks use for most of their vegetables. For this recipe I used a mixture of dry beans that included white beans, the yellow split pea (known as fava here in Greece), chickpeas and hantres or barbounia beans a type of bean that it is white with purple spots.

The process is simple, and if you do it from scratch it takes a bit of time, but the active cooking time is minimal. The result is nice soft beans with a rich tomato sauce. Of course you an also do this with canned beans, saving some time. However, generally in Greece you do not find much canned beans. There are some small cans of broad beans that have olive oil and tomato added to it and is meant to be consumed as is, but plain precooked canned beans are rarely used.

The nutritional value obviously is high, this dish is a good source of protein and antioxidants since all the ingredients are great sources of these powerful substances, good fats and fiber. Oh… and did I mention? Kids love them when they are cooked in this yummy sauce.

Add the feta for some tang and a rusk for some crunch.


Greek white beans with tomato sauce and feta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Soft and tender white beans cooked in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Tomato Sauce, White Beans
Author: Elena Paravantes
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  • Soak the beans overnight.
  • Rinse them and place them in a pot. Put enough water to cover them. Bring them to a boil, then change the water and cover the beans again with water and boil for about an 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute. Add the beans and mix gently until they are covered with the olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes and about 1/2 cup hot water. Add pepper and salt to taste. Bring to boil and lower heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, until beans are soft and liquids are absorbed. Check and add water as needed.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool. Serve with feta and bread or rusk.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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  • Reply Michelle February 24, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    I live in the US and this is one of my favorite Greek recipes you’ve shared. It’s so good the next day as well. In the US I just use cans of drained Butter Beans to make this. It’s warm and hearty!5 stars

  • Reply Sari February 2, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Yassas Elena! I grew up in Agia Paraskevi prior to moving to the US.
    I LOVED the 30 day challenge as you gave me some new tips and a refresh for my cooking. What a great way to reset – Thank you so much for great content and even better recipes. A+5 stars

  • Reply Katherine January 20, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Hello – this recipe looks really good and I’d like to try it. But I have a question about the dry beans. The instructions say to bring them to a boil twice. Is the first boil in the evening right before you leave them to soak overnight? Or are both bring to a boil times after they have soaked? Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply Vicki April 8, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    We made this for dinner this evening. It was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes.5 stars

  • Reply Katie April 7, 2020 at 2:21 am

    These beans are SOOOO good!5 stars

  • Reply Ange Kenos August 9, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Special note. Buy and consume ONLY Hellenic/ Greek Feta. Authentic products of Hellas/ the Hellenic Republic (aka Greece). There tend to be Farma, Fage and Dodoni. Most others tend to be NOT authentic Hellenic style feta. (same with yogurt)

  • Reply Marylinn June 18, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Hi Elena. I’m also hail from Chicago and am now a Yiayia to a toddler . I’m wondering what the good Greek moms of toddlers are feeding their kids and what to expect if I introduce more Greek style foods little by little to my 20 month old grand daughter. I’d appreciate even a website that Greek moms are blogging on about food and toddlers. Thanks. Great site you have here. Marylinn

  • Reply Lee Ann August 29, 2016 at 12:35 am

    I made this dish over the weekend with some mixed dried beans we had on hand. It was good the first day… even my carnivore husband liked it. The 2nd day I put a few dashes of red wine vinegar on — and, oh my, was that ever good… not sure it’s Greek, but we sure liked it 🙂
    I recently found your website and am enjoying it.

  • Reply @FreeRangeNan May 4, 2015 at 6:06 am

    I tried this tonight using canned garbanzo beans (drained) and canned tomatoes. Not quite as good as when I start with dried beans, but it was still delicious.

    With a simple salad, bread and feta, it was an easy dinner for a day when I couldn’t spend much time.

    Thank you!

  • Reply Alex March 21, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Can I substitute the chopped tomato with tomato sauce? If yes how does it change the preparation?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Alex,
      Yes you can, the preparation is the same.

      • Reply Alex March 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

        Thank you!By the way,really nice website.

  • Reply Glyn July 23, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Numnum! Looks sooo delicious and tempting! I can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply Judy Myhand July 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I prepared the Gigantes Plaki (I purchased the beans while I was in Greece this summer…they really are extra good)using your recipe and then I stirred in some leftover fava when I served it. It was so good. My guess is that it would be like the recipe you describe here. My students and I had a Greek reunion and they were so glad to have the good Greek food. We made dolmathakia, too. I am already looking forward to my next trip. Judy

  • Reply Sophie July 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    This looks delicious – butter beans are my personal favourite legume!

    I was wondering how the Greek diet would work for a strength/weight training athlete? I know that protein is often overrated, so would just eating fish a few times a week, meat once a month etc. be adequate? I’d love to hear your view as an RD! I’m trying to move towards a more Greek style diet but I’m so dependent on a source of animal protein with each meal, whether it be fish/eggs/chicken etc.

    • Reply Sylvia Cook July 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Best to check it out, but I thought that beans on toast combined the essential protein elements (amino acids) to make a full protein – but of course the feta crumbled on top is a full dairy animal protein anyway!

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN July 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

        Thanks Sylvia. It was once thought that protein combining in the same meal is necessary for vegetarians, but that is not the case anymore. Recommendations now show that what is important is a varied diet throughout the day.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN July 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Sophie,
      Yes, there are various studies that show that we overestimate our needs for protein even for weight training. In any case in the traditional Mediterranean Greek diet you do have eggs on a weekly basis, you can supplement your meals with some poultry or fish, by supplement I mean not as the main course but about 2 ounces.

      • Reply Sophie August 9, 2014 at 6:23 am

        Thank you for the reply and great information Elena!

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