Here comes one of my favorite Turkish food: Green Beans in Olive Oil or Zeytinyağlı Taze Fasulye in Turkish. I just LOVE this traditional dish because it is such a sophisticated flavor yet cooked with only a handful of ingredients.
Eating in season is very important in Turkish culture. Everybody knows what is in season and tries to get the fresh produce’s full nutritional benefit in the right season. That is why it is common to call recipes as winter or summer dish. This traditional flavor from Turkish cuisine is a summer dish, and I did not want to miss my chance to introduce it before summer ends.
Green beans are fresh and abundant in the summer months in Turkey. Everybody loves it. Since they are so delicious, Turkish people usually freeze and eat them in winter months as well.
There are two significant kinds of green beans in Turkey; Italian flat beans (Ayşe Kadın Fasulye) or string beans (Çalı Fasulyesi). I love Italian flat beans, but I cannot find them in Canada. So, this recipe uses string beans. Cooking duration will depend on the type of green beans you use.
When I was growing up, we would serve this dish with a side of Turkish style white rice or bulgur. A piece of bread dipped into the juice and raw onions with salt would be complementing this unique flavor. It is a very authentic dish and my all-time favorite.
Do not be fooled by the simplicity of the recipe. You will be amazed when you cook and taste it.
Green Beans: Green beans are very low in calories, but they are an essential source of vitamin C, dietary protein, fiber, folate, vitamin K, vitamin B2, magnesium, iron, and silicon for healthy bones, skin, and hair.
There are different variations of cutting the green beans. Some cut into 1.5 inches length, cut lengthwise first, cut into pieces, or leave it long. Just do not forget to trim off the ends and remove the strings. I prefer cutting them in 2-3 pieces with a slight angle.
Tomatoes: You must peel their skin for the success of this recipe. My mom usually puts them in hot water and soaks them a few minutes to peel the skin more comfortable. I did not, but if you need it, you can try my mom’s method.
Onion: 2 small onions or one large onion would be enough for this recipe. Make sure you chop them finely.
Garlic: 3-4 cloves are perfect. You do not need to crash them; just slice them finely. It would be nice when they are still visible in the dish.
Sugar: Sugar balances the acidic nature of olive oil. I used organic coconut sugar instead to keep it natural and it was a fantastic choice. But it’s optional, you can skip this ingredient.
Paprika: Some add tomato or Turkish red pepper paste to the recipe to give it more color. But I grew up in the Aegean region in Turkey, and I have not seen people using paste in this recipe much. I added paprika to give the juice a bit more color because of the tomatoes’ quality here (red outside but colorless inside).
Black Pepper: It is optional for this recipe.
Salt: To taste.
HOW TO COOK
Sauté the onions and garlic first. And then add green beans, spices, sugar, and toast them for some time. Add tomatoes last. That is how I like it and cook it myself.
Sauté the onions and garlic first. And then add tomatoes and cook them for some time. Add green beans last.
Put all ingredients in the saucepan and cook everything at the same time.
You might still get delicious results with all these different methods.
HOW TO SERVE
I love this dish with my white Turkish style rice when it is warm. However, it is still a fantastic dish to eat on its own with a piece of bread.
If you make these green beans, rate it on the recipe card and leave a comment below. Also, do not hesitate to share your photos on Instagram, tag @plant.awesome, and use the hashtag #plantawesomelife.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small onions or 1 large one, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
- 1 lb or 500 g green beans, ends trimmed, strings removed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 1/2 tbsp sugar (optional. I used organic coconut sugar.)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- pinch salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Chop onions finely and sauté them in a large saucepan with olive oil for 5 about minutes over medium heat.
- Add sliced garlic cloves sauté the mix until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add green beans, salt, black pepper, paprika, and coconut sugar. Stir them for a couple of minutes and let the beans cook for about 5-10 minutes. You can add a little bit of hot water so that beans do not stick to the saucepan.
- Add tomatoes. Cover them and cook over low heat for about 25-30 minutes or until the beans are soft enough for you. I like them a little crunchy so 25 minutes for enough for me.
- After cooking is finished, remove the saucepan from the heat and give it a rest for 10 minutes before serving.
This dish is my favorite to serve warm with a side of Turkish rice and salad. However, it's also commonly served as a cold meze with Turkish raki, which is the national alcoholic drink.