the taste space

Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)

Posted in Sides by janet @ the taste space on May 23, 2012

In my kitchen, I know exactly what goes into my food. I can control the amount of oil and veggies. I know that I can make a luscious Ethiopian split pea puree without gobs of oil, but do people at restaurants know that? At M&B Yummy, the food doesn’t taste oily but when I first investigated Ethiopian cuisine, I was aghast at the amount of oil used.

Vegetables simmered in olive oil is a traditional side dish across the Mediterranean and Middle East.  I had my share while travelling in Turkey (and recreated it with beans when I returned) and it is a vegan-friendly option at Greek restaurants. I guess it was no surprise that I really enjoyed the simple carrots and green beans at M&B Yummy as well, where they called it fasoulia.

I searched for something similar, and while some recipes drip in oil, I thought it would be better to keep things light and fresh. Skip all that excess oil. Skip the long simmer that turns the veggies to mush. Keep the fresh tomatoes and lemon juice. After these small fixes, the recipe from Olive Trees and Honey was a keeper. I know it looks so simple but it tastes much more than the sum of its components.

I call this Ethiopian because that’s where I first ate the combination of green beans and carrots. The original recipe is just for green beans (fasoulia is the Arabic word for green bean). It is a welcome addition to a large plate of Ethiopian dishes but equally suited to other Mediterranean meals.

This is my submission to this month’s My Kitchen, My World for Ethiopia and to Cookbooks Sundays.

Fasoulia (Sephardic Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)
Adapted from Olive Trees and Honey

1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz (or 2 cups) tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp agave or sugar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 lb carrots, julienned
1 lb green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and saute until soft and translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, agave, salt, pepper and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.

2. Add the carrots and green beans, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. I prefer mine tender-crisp which will take around 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8.

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12 Responses

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  1. sprint2thetable said, on May 23, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    I am loving these Ethiopian recipes – it’s one of my favorite cuisines. I’ve had something similar to this, but without the carrots. The beans are wonderful in tomato sauce. I also like to add a pinch of cinnamon to mine. It sounds odd, but I swear it’s good!

  2. Flavors of the Sun said, on May 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I, too, am enjoying the Ethiopian recipes. I like the idea of adding a pinch of cinnamon from the last comment as well. Nice recipe.

  3. Eileen said, on May 23, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Hey, I thought fassoulia was dried beans, not green! In NYC all the little Middle Eastern restaurants used gigantic white beans, even bigger than cannellini. I guess “fassoulia” could very easily mean “bean” in general, though. I will have to give your totally different method a try!

  4. Joanne said, on May 23, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    I’ve looked into ethiopian food also and was shocked by the amounts of oil! So unnecessary, especially when fresh veggies are used. I much prefer your version!

  5. shuhan said, on May 25, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    I don’t know much about ethiopian cuisine so am really excited to have found a source for inspiration. I always associated it with tons of spices and oil, so am curious about your version, which sounds liek it could very well be out of a greek or italian mama’s kitchen! either way, it does look yum, a perfect way to have your veggies.

  6. [...] this trio of recipes from this week (Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha) & Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)) along with the Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards, you are able to put [...]

  7. Couscous & Consciousness said, on May 26, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    Love the sound of this dish, and glad you “lightened” it up a little. I’ve never tried Ethiopian food, but am very curious about it, and love the idea of dishes with names like “fasoulia”.

    Thanks so much for sharing this at Cookbook Sundays.

    Sue xo

  8. [...] Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara, Mengedarrah) – Sephardic Green Beans and Carrots with Tomatoes (Fassoulia) – Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Yemesir [...]

  9. [...] but week after week of the same vegetables can get boring. I would probably pick green beans. While I have made some great dishes with them, I don’t find them that versatile. Zucchini, on the [...]

  10. [...] Eyed] Bean Curry (Lobia). The marker of a good cookbook, though, is having repeater recipes. I even photographed this one before when we made it with red lentils instead of green. Lover of all things curry, Rob has adopted this [...]

  11. [...] Fasoulia (Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce) [...]

  12. […] Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce) […]


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