No matter how much of a meat lover you are, I am sure you'll love this meatless dish, made up of earthy green beans, tangy tomatoes and warm spices. Serve up a bowl of this to your loved ones and they'll love you even more!
Fassoliya bil zeit, translating to beans in oil, is a dish made all across the Middle East. This dish is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes and a winter comfort food for my family. Every family makes theirs to their own taste, but we prefer ours lemony and spicy, with a prominent cinnamon flavour, but you can tweak yours to suit your taste buds.
If you feel like a bit of meat, a version of this dish is made with meat and eaten with rice. You can add boiled chunks of lamb or beef, or even minced meat, along with the tomatoes and other ingredients and add the stock from the boiled meat. This version is soupier in order to have plenty of sauce to serve with the rice.
Fassoliya bil zeit is very simple to make, but the trick to having soft and tender green beans is to cook them through before adding the tomatoes. Adding salt to the onion, garlic and green bean mixture stops it from caramelising and draws out the natural juices, allowing the beans and onions to cook in their own juices. If you feel the mixture is dry at any point, add a bit of water.
This dish is best eaten warm or room temperature in my opinion, and is one of those dishes that are better the next day! Serve it with some warm pitta break, a generous squeeze of lemon, and a splash of hot sauce if you are into spicy food, and enjoy!
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 500g fine green beans, cut into medium sized pieces
- 2 tsp salt
- 3-4 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp mixed spices
- 2 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
- ¼ cup water (if needed)
- Pitta bread to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions. Add the garlic once the onions begin to soften, followed by the green beans. Make sure they are mixed well and coated with olive oil, then lower heat and cover.
- Stir the mixture occasionally, making sure nothing burns. Once the green beans are soft, with a little bit of a bite, add the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir everything together well and cover. Cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything softens and combines, about 20 minutes. Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are and how saucy you would like the dish, you may need to add some more water to the mixture while cooking.
- Serve in bowls with warm pitta bread and a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy.