WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Fasolatha , considered to be one of Greece’s national dishes, is a soup consisting of creamy white beans, peppery olive oil, and fresh vegetables. Since this soup is all about the beans, we were determined to avoid tough, exploded beans in our version. So we soaked the beans overnight in salted water, which softened their skins, made them less prone to bursting, and also resulted in creamier beans. As for vegetables, onion and celery created a flavorful base, and using broth instead of water gave additional depth. For a silkier and more cohesive texture, we blended 2 cups of the soup and mixed it back into the pot. Lemon juice added brightness, and stirring in Aleppo pepper at the end provided a hint of spice and warmth. Serving the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parsley created an irresistibly fresh flavor and accented the creamy and rich beans. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, you can substitute ¼ teaspoon paprika and ¼ teaspoon finely chopped red pepper flakes. For more information on soaking beans, see here .
Salt and pepper
1 pound (2½ cups) dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 onion, chopped
2½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ¾ teaspoon dried
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, plus extra as needed
4 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground dried Aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, celery, and soaked beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Process 2 cups soup in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds, then return to pot. Heat soup gently over low heat until hot (do not boil) and adjust consistency with extra hot broth as needed. Stir in lemon juice, Aleppo, and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with extra oil.