Authentic Greek Green Beans-Fasolakia Lathera

For this authentic Greek recipe green beans with potatoes are stewed in tomato and olive oil until velvety.

Greek green beans

I love lathera! Lathera as I’ve mentioned before, are a whole category of Greek recipes where vegetables are cooked in olive oil and tomato along with herbs. We eat this as a main course along with bread and feta cheese. I would say that this is the secret weapon of the Greek diet, it is why Greeks consistently have the highest intake of vegetables (per person) in the world. These dishes are very filling, because you basically consume about 4 servings of vegetables in one sitting, plus the olive oil provides satiety.

You probably will have guessed this, but lathera are very healthy. Not only are they a vegetable based meal, they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and they are cheap. One serving does not cost more than 2 dollars.

And yes, they are easy to make. Lathera are made with seasonal vegetables. For example in the winter a typical dish is cauliflower, in the summer green beans and okra are very common. But lathera are perfect for the summer, especially as the warm weather has us craving vegetables rather than meat.

We may not all have the time to find and clean fresh vegetables, so frozen can work fine. And if you do not have fresh tomato, you can use crushed tomatoes (look for BPA free containers).

Secrets to making the best Greek Green Beans

This particular recipe is a classic. Green beans stewed in olive oil and tomato. Some people make them plain, others add potato and carrots as well. It is very easy, but the secret to making it delicious, is the olive oil. Do not -I repeat- Do not, try and make this with a few teaspoons of olive oil, you will need 1/3 cup of olive oil per one pound of vegetables. Just to understand the importance of olive oil in these dishes, the word “lathera” means “the ones with the oil”. Not adding the olive oil will result in watery green beans that will taste bland. Olive oil helps bring out all the flavors and make this dish feel rich. You may be worried about calories, but remember that this is a main course and the rest of the ingredients pretty much have minimal calories so the result is a moderate calorie dish.

What to serve with Greek Green Beans

Greeks usually enjoy this as a main course as I mentioned earlier. It is served with a slice of bread and feta cheese. You eat a large portion and it is filling. If you wish to serve it as a side dish, I find it pairs well with pasta, chicken and beef dishes.

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Greek Style Green Beans-Fasolakia Lathera

Greek green beans
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Tender cooked green beans with potatoes stewed in tomato and olive oil.
Course: Dessert, Entree, lunch
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Green Beans
Servings: 2 mains or 4 sides
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
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Ingredients

  • cup olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 medium potato sliced (1/4 inch thickness-cut in half)
  • 3 medium tomatoes grated or 12-15 ounces chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • fresh pepper

Instructions

  • In a medium pot, heat olive oil at medium to low heat. Sauté onion until soft.
  • Add potatoes and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add beans and mix until covered with the olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar and salt and pepper and mix.
  • Add hot water just enough to half cover the beans.
  • Simmer with the lid on for about 40 minutes (do not boil).
  • The beans are ready once there is no water left and the beans are soft.
  • Enjoy with bread and feta cheese
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Greek green bean casserole

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

97 Comments

  • Reply Demetrius Karos September 13, 2021 at 12:37 am

    Great recipe. Also reminded me of my YiaYia. Simple enough but great flavors.

    At our local farmers market, I picked up a bag of Michigan green beans and small white potatoes. Decided to use more potatoes than called for in the recipe.

    You are spot on with the use of the olive oil and you cannot use a minimal amount. The olive oil with the water and juices really make the oil or juice tasty.

    I also made a sourdough bread and used that in the juices.5 stars

  • Reply Maria August 2, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    I think i can go vegetarian with this, cause i skipped the feta and ate it with rice one time and it was good too. Haha!
    I sometimes make it with garlic instead of onion . The base can be added to pasta like a pesto, but I haven’t tried as i want to eat more vege than carbs these days.5 stars

  • Reply Dannette July 4, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    I just made this today. I may have put too much water in so I cooked it a little longer. This was so, so good. I will be making this again!5 stars

  • Reply Sue Justus May 29, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Love this recipe. Have made it a bunch of times. The only addition I make is 1 tsp. ox cumin.5 stars

  • Reply Rick May 12, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Excellent meal, but prep time was closer to 30 minutes, not 5 minutes!

  • Reply Christina DaSilva May 4, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    This recipe was absolutely delicious just as I remember my Yiayia making it.5 stars

  • Reply Kelly May 3, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    Had to leave a review on this one because This is absolutely AMAZING! Who knew? I did not expect to like this so much, will be doubling the recipe next time. Used too much water, but didn’t hurt a thing. Will reduce water next time.
    This will be a regular on the table.5 stars

  • Reply Karen Neale April 29, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    I love this with feta, lemon juice and fresh dill!5 stars

  • Reply Chris April 16, 2021 at 7:08 am

    Hi Elena,

    I made this dish by substituting fatty beef for the vegetables and using partially hydrogenated oil instead of olive oil. Delicious and healthy. Just kidding!

    Real question: The article says use 1/3 cup of olive oil per pound of vegetables. But the recipe ingredients list calls for 1/3 cup of oil and what looks like maybe 3 pounds of vegetables. So which ratio would you recommend if I want to make lathera dishes using whatever vegetables happen to be in season?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN April 16, 2021 at 8:02 am

      Ha ha! You got me for a moment there! So, yes I meant per 1 pound of green beans not including the potato and onion. I’ll clarify that shortly in the article.

  • Reply Stewart March 21, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    I had to leave a comment on this recipe. I have visited Crete at least three times and I have missed it sorely during the pandemic. This simple recipe brought back so many memories, and made me so happy duroing this difficult time, so thank you for that!

  • Reply Katja February 21, 2021 at 7:41 am

    This is a fabulous recipe! It quickly became one of my go to weeknight dishes. I cook it with green beans, or with peas, or with cauliflower. Depending what we fancy. The method is the same. Served with halloumi or feta. Everyone loves it, and i cook enough for the following day too. Win, win! Thank you for this!5 stars

  • Reply Wendi February 3, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    We are trying to eat foods more aligned with Mediterranean way of eating and I saw this pic on Pinterest and thought it looked so comforting and it did not disappoint! Just had a big portion with bread and feta like you recommend and it was a delish and filling meal. Gonna look now to find more of lathera recipes.

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