Facolada – Greek Bean Stew

“Fasolada” Slow cooked dried beans with celery

Recipe by Marianna Leivaditaki


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





“Fasolada” Slow cooked dried beans with celery.
This is a typical winter dish. It can be eaten on its own with warm fresh bread and a nice piece of good quality feta or it can be had as a soup at the beginning of a meal. In Crete when going up to the mountains for a meaty feast its placed like every other dish in the middle of the table and shared.
It’s the dish to make when you have a free morning. The slower its cooked the better it becomes. The beans become soft and velvety and take in all the flavours from the vegetables; the sauce becomes thick and sweet and the dish is the best thing to have in a cold winter day.


  • 500g dried small white beans (like haricot)

  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, finely chopped

  • 1 bunch celery, finely sliced

  • 500g red tomatoes, blitzed

  • 3-4 fresh bay leaves

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Soak the beans over night in cold water.
  • Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil together with the onion, carrot and celery. Cook gently until soft and sweet.
  • Strain the beans from their soaking water and add them to the pan.
    Add enough fresh water to the pan to cover the beans by about 5cm as they will increase in volume while they cook. Add the blitzed tomatoes, bay leaf and the remaining 100ml of olive oil.
  • Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and let the beans bubble away for about an hour. Stir the beans occasionally and add some more water if needed. The total cooking time is about 2 hours.
  • By this time the beans should be soft and buttery. When this texture has been achieved season the beans with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce has not thickened add a little more olive oil and cook for another few minutes . Remove the beans from the heat and let them rest for a while before serving. At this point I like to take a cup or two of the soup, blitz it in a processor until smooth and add it back into the pot. This makes it creamier and even more delicious!
  • Serve in bowls with good quality feta on the side, some chilli and fresh bread.
  • If you want this dish to become a bit richer you can add some sausages towards the end of cooking or some slow cooked pork belly.