In this version of a dish served across Turkey and the Mediterranean, fresh green beans are slowly braised with tomatoes, onions, garlic and a generous amount of olive oil resulting in the most beautiful, buttery tender side dish!
Why This Recipe is Keeper:
While thin late spring and early summer green beans often only require a quick saute or steaming, slow-braising is ideal for mature, late summer green beans like what you may be picking now. And, if you also have a bounty of backyard tomatoes, Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes is a delicious way to enjoy them together!
This dish most closely resembles one that is served across Turkey called taze fasulye, but variations exist across the Mediterranean region. It’s served as a side dish or as part of a meze, which is an appetizer platter so it’s also very versatile. Here’s more information from The Kitchn on meze.
Another reason this dish is so lovely is that besides being flavorful, it can be enjoyed at room temperature and will taste as good four days later as the day you made it!
Let’s make it!
- Tomatoes: This recipe is the perfect way to use red, ripe, juicy summer tomatoes. In the off-season, my go-to tomatoes at the grocery store are Romas or Campari. If you want to use canned tomatoes, use a good quality canned tomato such as San Marzano for the freshest tomato flavor.
- Green Beans: I used regular “string” beans, but Romano beans or Italian pole beans, which are wider and a have a less delicate texture than regular green “string” beans would be ideal in this recipe because braising will tenderize them.
- Olive Oil: I like to use extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Sugar: Sugar is traditionally added to the Turkish version of Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes. I was a little concerned after tasting them with sugar, but squeezing some lemon juice over the beans provided a beautiful balance.
- Start by peeling the tomatoes. Prepare an ice bath then bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato then carefully drop it into the boiling water. Give it about 20-30 seconds or until you can see the skin begin to peel away from the tomato. Immerse into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Then, peel and chop!
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan and cook the onions and garlic until the onions soften up.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they begin melting into a sauce.
- Add the green beans, water and red pepper flakes.
- Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook until the beans are lovely and tender.
- The beans will turn an olive-y color but that’s okay and there is no way to avoid it. Don’t worry! They will taste amazing!
- Add the sugar and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Toss on some coarsely chopped parsley and don’t forget those lemon wedges! A squeeze of lemon will make this dish pop!
- That’s it! Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes! Who knew braised green beans could be SO delicious!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- Over my years as a personal chef, I’ve tried numerous ways to speed up the process of trimming the stem ends from beans. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way. However, it’s only the stem end that needs to be removed; the bottom tip is tender and perfectly fine to eat. Here’s all the ways you can do it:
- Do them one by one and just enjoy the zen of it.
- Line several up on a cutting board and cut the ends with a knife. I find it time-consuming to line up the beans, then grab the knife and cut but it works.
- Grab two or three at a time in one hand and break the stem end off with the other hand.
- Grab two or three where you see stems together and snip them with kitchen shears.
Frequently Asked Questions:
You’ll have a better end product here. You can leave the skins on because they’re completely edible but they won’t break down and you’ll have tiny bits of skin in the dish.
Yes, you absolutely can. I would recommend rinsing them under cool running water to get any frost off as that can sometimes cause an off-taste.
Yes! See my note above in the Ingredient Notes. Use a good-quality Italian tomato for the best flavor.
More green bean recipes you’ll love!
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Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes
- 2 medium tomatoes
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling if desired
- 1 large onion quartered and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound green beans trimmed and halved crosswise
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a small "X" in the bottom of the skin of each tomato with a sharp paring knife.
- Blanch the tomatoes by immersing them in the boiling water for 20-30 seconds or until you can see the skin begin to curl and peel away.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to stop the tomatoes from cooking. Drain, peel, seed as best you can and chop. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin softening up, approximately 5-6 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to break down, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Add the green beans, water and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with the lid slightly ajar. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the beans are very tender, approximately 45 minutes.
- Season with salt and black pepper. Add sugar.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.