Fasolakia, Greek braised green beans, will win over the most hardened veggie skeptics

Illustration for article titled Fasolakia, Greek braised green beans, will win over the most hardened veggie skeptics
Photo: Karl Gustafson

In One-Pan Wonders, we look for easy and delicious weeknight dinners that can be cooked using a single pan. 


The one-pan dinner can be delicious, but how often is it really healthy? Take my garbage chicken, for example; it’s easy to make and a crowd-pleaser, but seeing that it’s almost entirely based on processed food, I’m usually scrambling around for something, anything green to serve on the side.

So when my colleague and friend Stephanie Potakis suggested her Greek family’s recipe for Fasolakia as our one-pan dinner series, I looked at the ingredient list with delight, but also some doubt that the younger people in my family would actually eat it, despite Stephanie’s enthusiasm. You may remember Stephanie as the vegetarian who ate meat for the first time in many years on camera. She may have enjoyed meat that particular day, but she is a vegetable master, and was totally right about this dish. It’s a main course that’s primarily focused on braised green beans, augmented by potatoes and other vegetables. Simple yet definitely sturdy enough for your weeknight dinner (you can even use Fasolakia to kick off the week with a Meatless Monday).

My family destroyed it, even my daughter who usually prefers only beige food. It couldn’t have been easier: sautéed vegetables cooked in some diced tomatoes. In keeping with the Greekness of the dish, spices are kept to garlic, cumin, oregano, and delicious lemon. (My friend Kelsey says she also puts cinnamon in hers.) Stephanie advised, “Then you can use grated mizithra on top when you eat it, or throw some chunks of feta in it… and it’s so good! Add bread as a soaker-upper of the juice and you’re money.”

We threw some feta and extra green onions on top and added some crusty bread, for an easy, nutritious (also, inexpensive) add to our weeknight rotation. I think you could even cook it to use up whatever vegetables you might have hanging around in your larder, like carrots or zucchini—as long as the green beans and potatoes still take center stage.

Potakis Family Fasolakia

Illustration for article titled Fasolakia, Greek braised green beans, will win over the most hardened veggie skeptics
Photo: Karl Gustafson
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans (or package of frozen french green beans)
  • 1 can (24 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 5 or 6 peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Crumbled feta cheese

In Dutch oven or large saucepan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Sauté the garlic, onions, and zucchini—when browned, add the can of diced tomatoes, as well as the fresh green beans and potatoes and spices. (If using frozen green beans, cook veggies alone for about 5-10 minutes, then add green bean package.) Add water if needed to cover.


Boil at low to medium heat until the beans and potatoes are cooked through. Take off heat as soon as it finishes cooking, and stir in lemon juice. Top with more chopped green onions and feta cheese, and serve with crusty bread.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



Sorry, I would not eat that.
The main reason is the inclusion of zucchini, which some of us just can’t stomach at all. It would block my ability to swallow, and there’s little I can do about that.

For vegetables, there are two families that tend to be problematic for supertasters: The brassica family (brussel sprouts, cale etc.), and the gourd family (cucumber, zucchini etc.).
It’s not a question of how good the dish is otherwise - unless you cook those particular vegetables to death[*] and beyond so not a trace of the gag-inducing chemicals are left, there’s nothing someone disposed to not liking them can do about it. Especially braising, which people who like these vegetables think makes them even more yummy, makes them even harder to eat for those who can’t.
[*]: That makes the gourd family the hardest of all to make edible for supertasters, because you can’t cook them to death like you can with the the brassica family. You can boil cabbage for an hour, but zucchini will disintegrate long before that.

Beans, onions and root vegetables tend to be safer choices if you want “the most hardened veggie skeptics” to be able to eat the dish.