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.
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.