This is a fairly new recipe, but I love the flavor combination and have enjoyed it multiple times already. Based on another traditional Greek recipe (maybe I should check to see if Greece is in my lineage) this is modified for my own personal tastes. Although I ate green beans from a can as a child, I never craved them like I do these. Fresh green beans and tomatoes are simmered together just long enough to cook the green beans without making them mushy.
I start by prepping the beans—the most tedious part. I grab a bunch of washed green beans and push them up against my large chef’s knife, so one end is lined up. Chop off the tips, move the knife to the opposite end of the bunch and push the beans against the knife again. They should be mostly lined up so you can make a quick chop across the opposite end tips. Repeat until they are all trimmed and set aside.
I had some great Roma tomatoes that were perfectly ripe and meaty, but any fresh, ripe tomato works. Chop the tomatoes and onions. Mince the garlic. Roll the lemon back and forth on the counter to break down some of the citrus membranes to get more juice. You should get about 3 tablespoons from a small to medium lemon. This recipe does not need the preciseness of baking, so feel free to put in a little more a little less. I refuse to save a teaspoon of lemon juice or slice another lemon in half just to have perfect measurements in recipes as flexible as this.
Sauté and Simmer
Sauté the onions over medium heat and add the minced garlic when the onions are translucent. Stir the garlic just long enough to mellow it and remove the raw taste, about 30 seconds. Pour the tomatoes over top, and stir for a couple of minutes, until they start to break down. Toss the green beans on top, stir in water and seasonings. Reduce the heat and let the beans simmer for about 8-10 minutes. I know that the traditional Greek beans and tomatoes dish simmers along for some time, but I don’t like my green beans too soft. Besides, the green color stays greener if you don’t cook them too long.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice and most of the chopped dill. Pour it all into a serving bowl and sprinkle the last of the fresh dill on top before serving.
GREEK STYLE GREEN BEANS
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 lb. fresh tomatoes diced (see notes for canned)
- 1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed and washed
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or more
Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they start to soften and break down, about 2-3 minutes. Pour in the water and add the green beans, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, and simmer on low heat for about 8 minutes, or until down to your liking.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and dill. Pour into serving bowl, and garnish with additional dill, if desired.