Turkish Style Braised Green Beans Recipe
If there’s one vegetable recipe I had to choose to eat every day for the rest of my life, this Turkish-style braised green beans recipe would be it. It’s a perfect summertime dish, with just five seasonal ingredients coming together to create something simple and filling.
This braised green beans recipe comes from a group of traditional Turkish dishes, called zeytinyagli, meaning literally “with olive oil” that are served cold or at room temperature. These zeytinyagli dishes are great for a light lunch, first course, or side dish. The “large” amount of olive oil in this recipe is totally intentional, as the word zeytinyagli suggests, it is meant to be served with crusty bread for dipping in the sauce created by the tomato and olive oil. This recipe is traditionally made with Romano green beans, which are a large, flat green bean, but I have found that they are not always readily available. Regular blue lake green beans work just as well.
The other eaters in my household were at first weird-ed out by eating green beans that are served cold or at room temperature. For some, it can take some getting used to. If serving at room temperature, take the beans out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan on serving it. I like it cold, with cold plain yogurt dolloped on top, for a refreshing lunch on a hot day. Ideally, make this dish the day before or a few hours before it is to be served, as it definitely gets better after a day.
- ½ large onion, peeled
- 1 carrot, scrubbed or peeled
- 1 pound green beans, topped and tailed
- 1 medium-sized tomato
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons plus ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ sea salt
Cut onion into half moons. Cut carrot in half lengthwise, then across into slices. Cut green beans into 2-inch pieces. Dice tomato.
In a medium size skillet with a lid, over medium heat, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add onion a cook for 3 minutes. You don’t want any browning, so turn heat down if onions start to brown.
Add carrot and cook for 4 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste, and cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add ⅓ cup olive oil, water, sugar, salt, and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat so that the mixture simmers, and cover with lid. Simmer covered for 35 minutes. Check liquid level periodically, and add more water if ingredients are sticking.
By the end of cooking there should not be much water left, but a nice olive oil/tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning for salt. Let cool, or put in refrigerator to cool off. Beans will last 3 days in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature, with crusty bread.
This dish tastes better the next day.
Sugar is traditional in zeytinyagli dishes, to provide a balance of flavors. If you don’t prefer to use sugar, use one more carrot instead, which provides some sweetness as well.