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.

Mediterranean Diet cookbook for beginners

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

95 Comments

  • Reply FoodGeekGraze May 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    your explanation of the importance of the amount of olive oil used is invaluable. love love love the 411. thank youuuuuuu 🙂

  • Reply melanie March 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Can l use honey instead of sugar in this recipe?, l am trying to remove refined sugar from my diet. Thanks

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 20, 2016 at 11:38 am

      You could, although there really is no difference health-wise, all are simple sugars.

  • Reply Scot Hughes December 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I cooked this recipe for dinner last night, however I used half the olive oil. I get not using only a few teaspoons of oil, but a half cup (24 teaspoons) seemed like a lot. So I decided to try 1/4 cup. I thought it came out just fine, still quite rich to me, and delicious. In fact, I thought 1/4 cup was almost a little too much. I asked my brother, who dined with me, and he said it was perfect. I ate every bite and still had a little oil in my bowl when I finished. Personally I can’t imagine having twice the oil I had in the finished dish, but I guess that’s just personal preference. It was delicious and I’ll be making this again perhaps trying other veggies. How about substituting half the green beans with artichoke hearts?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Scot. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, these dishes use quite a lot of olive oil, which provides flavor, richness and satiety, especially having it as a main course. Yes, the Mediterranean diet is not a low-fat diet, but as I mentioned this would be a moderate calorie dish. Traditionally, they actually used even more olive oil. If you get a chance again, make it with the half cup and see how it is. I’ve made it with 1/4 and with 1/2 and in terms of taste and texture there is a difference. Yes there should be oil left in the pot and dish.
      Artichokes would work great. There is actually a Greek traditional dish with artichokes made with potatoes which I will share soon. Happy Holidays

  • Reply RogerRocket October 13, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Have tried this for the first time today and love it. The Med. diet is the best thing for long life so they say. For my first attempt I added chopped garlic cloves a mixture of Italian herbs and some bell peppers to the beans with oodles of EVOO and a tin of chopped tomatoes. I also make my own 100% rye bread so with genuine Greek Feta this meal was a real feast par excellence!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Great! Thanks for sharing Roger.

    • Reply Cynthia Anderson October 17, 2020 at 12:37 am

      sounds yummy!5 stars

  • Reply Kathy bohs July 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    A staple in my house when I was growing up sometimes my mother would throw in a few chunks of stew meat too. We don’t use sugar in our recipe …Either way a very delicious meal!

  • Reply TryingToGoMediterrean June 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    How does one grate tomatoes?

    • Reply TryingToGoMediterrean June 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Not sure what a “medium pot” is, and I think I added way too much water, but this did turn out great. Very tasty.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN June 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

      You just use a grater, it will be pulp. It gets messy, but worth using fresh tomatoes if you have them.

    • Reply Jac July 27, 2020 at 5:44 am

      I cut a tomato in half then slide the flesh side on the cheese grater until I’m left with just the skin which I don’t use.. Very easy like Passata

  • Reply Niko @GreekBoston.com May 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Fasolakia always reminds me of summer! This dish is a great way to use those garden fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes. I like to add fresh, chopped garlic to the dish, as well.

  • Reply Melike Kavala May 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    thank you dear Michael…we cut them also in two vertically ,then into 2 horizantally…
    but this loks great ..ı will try definetly …thank you for all your postings..

  • Reply Michael saroyan May 15, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    i have been eating this sice my childhood. One of my favorite dishes all year round. My mother used to add some garlic however and there were only one type of green beans, in those days, flat green beans, they call them in California Italian green beans for some reason.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Thanks for sharing Michael! We use those wide green beans too, we call them fasolakia platia (wide green beans).

    • Reply Eva Gallon September 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      I find it amusing how anything remotely ‘Mediterranean’ tends to be called Italian in the US lol (e.g flat leaf parsley is Italian parsley, mixed dried herbs are Italian herbs over there…)

  • Reply Antoinette Pappas-Simmont May 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    My Dad made this but he also added a squeeze of half of lemon. Yummy.

  • Reply Stonna Nicholas May 15, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Just put this on the stove with zucchini, red pepper and potatoes with the oil and tomatoes. I also added some dry dill . It’s really smelling good in here. Serving with cod!! Can’t wait.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 16, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Enjoy! Love the addition of red pepper, its almost like briami (Greek version of ratatouille)

  • Reply Art Alexion May 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Lots of great variations. Add chunks of chicken or lamb. This year I cooked lamb shanks in the tomatoes before adding the beans for Easter. We usually do a couple of legs on the rotisserie, but wanted something different this year.

  • Reply Vivienne May 15, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it tonight!

  • Reply jim pepper May 15, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Ill try it and let you know. Ive been changing our meals to more like greek and blue zone.

  • Reply Katina Vaselopulos May 15, 2015 at 3:20 am

    Fasolakia: One of my favorite summer dishes!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 15, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Mine too!

    • Reply Art Alexion May 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      And they are great cold!

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

        Thanks Art! Yes, I forgot to add this in may post. Lathera are best served at room temperature.

    • Reply Steve February 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      My mother would also add zucchini. Meatless dinner.

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