Fresh green beans (zeytinyağlı taze fasuliye)

Taze fasuliye (fresh green beans) is a Turkish home cooking staple, and a pleasant change from the meat, meat and more meat that often characterizes Turkish cuisine.

It’s also an example of a zeytinyağlı meze, which means it’s cooked slowly in lots – sorry, that should read LOTS – of olive oil, left to stand for hours to allow the flavours develop, then served at room temperature. It also means it’s delicious.

This recipe is crazy easy to make, so if you’ve always wanted to try a zeytinyağlı dish, give this one a go. It does require quite a lot of the finest olive oil you can afford, but it’s completely worth it.

Let me know what you think!


Serves 4

Time needed: 1 hr 15 mins cooking time, plus 12 hrs resting time


What you need

500g green beans

1 onion, very finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

3 tomatoes, grated

¾  cup olive oil

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

The end of a teaspoon of cumin powder

1 ½ cups water

How to make it

  1. First prepare the beans. Top and tail them, and peel off any strings. If any are thicker than about two inches, cut them in half lengthways.
  2. Heat a quarter of a cup of the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan, and fry the onions until they’re softened and just turning brown.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, cumin and lemon juice, then add another quarter cup of olive oil and all the water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook on low for 30 minutes or so, until the beans are soft to the tip of a knife (watch them carefully – no-one likes soggy beans!)
  4. Spoon on the remaining olive oil over the beans, steer gently, cover and leave on the side board overnight to allow the flavours to fully develop.

More fasuliye recipes