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Fassolatha - White Bean Soup (Fassolada)

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White Bean Soup
Jennifer Levy/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Bean soup or fassolatha (fah-soh-LAH-tha) will be on the menu at least once a week in a Greek household. It's also a staple of the Lenten season. This recipe makes 6 - 8 servings and is hearty, nutritious, and delicious.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dried white beans - such as Great Northern or Navy beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 - 14 oz. can diced plum tomatoes, un-drained
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Soaking dried beans rehydrates them and results in more tender beans and shorter cooking time. If you don't have an extra day to soak the beans overnight, you can try the quick soak method below.


Quick Soaking Method:

Add beans plus enough water to cover beans by 2 inches to a pot. Add 2 tbsp. salt and stir. Bring beans to a rolling boil. Turn off heat, cover, and soak for an hour. Drain and rinse beans under cold water before using.


For the Soup:

Add the beans, water, and olive oil to a large, non-reactive soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour.

Add vegetables, tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf to the pot and simmer uncovered another 30-45 minutes for flavors to meld and soup to thicken a bit.

Season the soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Note: Adding an acidic ingredient like tomato to the soup before the beans are cooked can toughen the skins on the beans.

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