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Friday, May 15, 2015

Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Spartan-Style White Beans and Greens (Fasolia me Horta + Meatless Monday)

Free of dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, nuts, corn

So here's a romantic notion: I like to think this dish infuses me with the discipline and power of the Ancient Spartans.

Not only that, it's delicious cheap fare (you'll see why in a minute). I served this last week when we had some people over for dinner and it was so well received I intend to serve it again this week for another dinner party. It takes all of 20 minutes to make and it's so simple.

 When my husband and I were in Greece recently we spent a few days in Sparta. While wandering around the rather lonely site of the ancient theatre there, we noticed an older Greek couple picking several bags worth of greens from the ground. On closer inspection I realized they were picking giant dandelion greens.

Later on that evening we went out for dinner to one of the few restaurants there (Sparta is not exactly a happening place for restaurants. I'll explain that in a future post when I get around to telling you about my trip!!). The owner - who we had met the day before and was now familiar with my gluten issues - offered up this dish. Fasolia me Horta. White beans with greens.

The greens in the dish? Dandelion leaves.  Brilliant!

 I couldn't help but hope that they were leaves picked from the ancient theatre, and  were somehow imbued with their essence. Cheesy? Yes. Yes it is. But I can't help but feel a little bit like a combination of Popeye meets the 300 every time I make this.

However, you don't need dandelions to make this dish (unless you have them. In which case, pick away!)

Why doesn't the local Greek restaurant serve this stuff?

 It's a shame you won't find this on the menu in most Greek restaurants in North America. That's likely due to the fact that most Greek restaurants serve food that's more commonly found on the islands (which is where a lot of Greek North Americans come from).

Fasolia me horta, on the other hand, seems to be more common in the Lakonia region in the Greek Peloponnese, around Sparta. At least I haven't seen it anywhere else in Greece and I've spent over a month's worth of time driving and busing across the country.

So while you can find souvlaki and spanikopita easily, you likely won't see this simple dish. But now you too can impress your friends with your knowledge of more obscure Greek fare by serving this cheap, easy vegan and gluten free beans and greens!

It's cheap and easy

As I mentioned, a lot of Greeks just pick greens from the ground to make this so it's a very economical dish but you can use almost any greens. Kale and Swiss chard both work really well, but so would spinach, you just might want to adjust the cooking time.

I have used both canned beans and tomatoes as well as beans that I've cooked, and fresh tomatoes. If you have the time, you can cook and freeze beans for this (check out my post on How to Cook and Freeze Big Batches of Beans for more info)

Ingredients for Fasolia me Horta 
(White beans and greens) serves 4-6

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (don't skimp, the Greeks LOVE olive oil)
1/4 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium-large tomatoes, diced OR 1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - 15oz can OR 1.5 cups cooked white beans of choice (black-eyed peas, white kidney beans, cannellini, etc).
1 bunch OR 6-8 cups chopped fresh greens (dandelions, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Water or stock as needed (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
Black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes to soften.

2. Add celery, tomatoes, greens, and beans and simmer for 15-20 minutes to soften greens and cook tomatoes. (If using spinach add this towards the end as it cooks faster)  Add water or stock as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Add juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

See how easy that was?  I served it for dinner for some family and friends last week alongside the Baked Greek Feta that I posted a while back that my friend and fellow author Suzanne Bourgeois shared, and it was definitely a hit.

Have you come back from your travels with unusual recipes?
What's your favorite food find from your travels?

Pick up a copy of A Single Girl's Guide to Greece  and be transported to Greece in this steamy story from my friend, Suzanne Bourgeois!

This post was shared on the following great link parties: Plant Based Potluck Party,


  1. Hi Danielle,
    This is my kind of comfort food! With hearty, delectable ingredients like these, I will be
    making this delectable dish for friends and family quite often. Thank you so much for sharing this healthy and delicious Fasolia me Horta recipe at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I appreciate it and I’m pinning and sharing.

  2. I love beans and kale. I think together this recipe sounds delish. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It's a super easy dinner and a regular one in our place :)


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