Copyright by greek chemist in the kitchen 2020. All rights reserved.

  • Akis

Same but different

Green beans with tomatoes is among the most characteristic Greek summer dishes.

I fantasize sometimes living in a village. Among others, it would be easier to have a garden to grow my own veggies. For the moment, I’m happy enough to experience indirectly this situation whenever I visit my grandparents in the village. Moreover, if this takes place during summertime when the garden is full of goodies, I can observe, water, touch, smell and maybe cut off some ready to be harvested vegetables. My grandmother is particularly proud of her long, flat and wide green beans that are abundant mainly during August. Whenever I’m there I get constantly offers from her to eat or take them even raw with me. Once, I even traveled back home in Germany with a bag full of them.


In Greece, we cook them typically in a tomato sauce with onions, either combined simply with few potatoes or in a richer, Sunday-type of dish, with chunks of lamb. Both ways, the food is cooked ideally slowly until the beans are soft enough, the tomato sauce has thickened and the meat, if present, detaches easily from the bone when forced with a fork.


Same but different


The basic recipe contains simply the beans, tomatoes, onions and of course olive oil for cooking and seasoning. The dish is mandatory accompanied with feta or similar cheese and bread to dip in the sauce and clean off the plate.

Once I had the idea to prepare a dish with exactly the same ingredients but either in other forms or cooked differently. I thought to use dried tomatoes instead of fresh or canned and additionally to cook long enough the onions until caramelized. By doing this I ended up with a new dish that tested completely different from the classic one. To compensate the lack of sauce I seasoned the dish with a basic olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

Here are the two different recipes.

Green beans in tomato sauce


  • green beans

  • fresh tomato juice or canned tomatoes

  • onions

  • potatoes (optional)

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt/pepper

  • fresh parsley or basil

  • feta cheese

- Cook slightly the green beans in boiling water or steam them as to get a bit tender before incorporate them in the recipe.

- Chop and sauté the onions until softened in a pan with a good amount of olive oil.

- Cut the potatoes in relatively big pieces, add them in the pan and cook them also for a couple of minutes.

- Add the pre-cooked beans, the tomato juice or the canned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add also some water to semi-cover the beans, cover the pan with a lid and let cook in medium fire until the beans are soft enough and the sauce has a thick consistency. If needed during cooking add some more water.

- When ready, taste the sauce and correct seasoning, add some chopped parsley or whole basil leaves, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with feta cheese.


Green beans with caramelized onions and dried tomatoes


  • green beans

  • dried tomatoes

  • onions

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • lemon juice and zest

  • salt/pepper

  • fresh parsley or basil

  • feta cheese

- Soak the dried tomatoes in warm water for a couple of hours.

- Cut the onions in relatively big pieces and cook them in low-to-medium fire with the addition of small amount of olive oil. Stir regularly as not to get burned. If it feels they need some liquids add a bit of the dried-tomato-water. Keep cooking and stirring until they get brown and caramelized (they might take some time, up to 30 min.)

- When caramelized, chop and add the dried tomatoes, a bit of their water and cook together for just a couple of minutes.

- Turn off the fire and keep them aside.

- Boil or steam the green beans until soft and eatable. When ready remove them from the cooking vessel and place them in a bowl with cold water to stop cooking and preserve the vivid green color.

- Prepare a basic vinaigrette with olive oil and lemon juice (3:1), salt, pepper and the lemon zest.

- Serve the green beans adding on top of them the dried tomato/onion mix, pour the vinaigrette and garnish with chopped parsley or few basil leaves.

- Add some feta cheese if you feel like it.