What is fasoláda?
Fasoláda is one of the most popular dishes of Greek and Cypriot cuisines:.
It is called fasoláda as well as fasouláda or fasolia, which means bean (φασολάδα, φασουλάδα or φασóλια in Greek). This is a white beans or fava beans soup with olive oil and vegetables, in most cases tomato, celery and carrot.
What is the origin of fasoláda?
According to the myth, the tradition was born when Theseus, legendary King of Athens, sailed from Athens to Crete to kill the Minotaur. On the way, he stopped on the island of Delos (right by Mykonos), and made a sacrifice to Apollo, promising that if he managed to win the battle and kill the beast, he would offer him olive branches decorated with fresh fruits to thank him.
On his return, Theseus stopped on the island of Delos again to fulfill his promise. However, he had not eaten for seven days. The companions of Theseus gathered everything they could find, and cooked some kind of soup: the original fasoláda was born!
Fasoláda around the world
The benefits of olive oil
Fasoláda is a vegetarian soup which is enriched with olive oil during cooking but also at the table. Olive oil, which is one of the essential ingredients of this soup, deserves special attention. It is one of the key ingredients associated with the Mediterranean diet or what is also called Cretan diet and its health benefits are no longer a secret. Olive oil, when consumed raw, seems to keep all its precious virtues, which is why Greeks often add it at the end of cooking and/or during the meal. This also helps make a thicker and creamier soup. Make sure you always use a fruity and excellent quality extra virgin olive oil.
Cardiovascular mortality in Crete is lower than in most countries. This diet is associated with the expression “good health” and longevity. It is based on a healthy and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables as well as legumes and cereals.
So no, fasoláda is not an unhealthy recipe! On the contrary ! I even recommend it to you if you are following a balanced diet.
- 2 cups dried white beans
- 2 cloves garlic , crushed
- 3 scallions , finely diced
- 3 carrots , sliced
- 1 stalk celery (with leaves) , chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes , seeded and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 10 cups boiling water
- ½ bunch parsley , finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
Soak the beans in a large amount of cold water for 12 hours at room temperature.
Rinse and boil in plenty of water for 15 minutes in a covered large pot.
Drain and discard the water.
Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron or non-stick pot.
Sweat the onions and garlic over low heat then add all other ingredients and cover with boiling water.
Add salt and pepper.
Bring back to boil and cook on high for 5 minutes.
Then lower the heat to medium/low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
Add boiling water while cooking, if necessary.
Check the tenderness of the beans. Increase the cooking time if necessary.
Serve hot with lemon juice and parsley.