Try this Greek butterbean stew – fasolada – for a vegetarian protein-packed punch.
“One of the things I’ve found hardest is getting a lot of protein in my diet”… it’s something I get from a lot of clients when I recommend they lower their carb intake and increase protein in an effort to lose weight and tone up.
I find it hard too – while I love chicken, fish, meat and nuts (all great protein sources), sometimes you need a change and find a veggie option can be tough. Which is why this Greek dish is so good.
Fasolada is a staple of the Greek diet, a healthy, filling and cheap-to-make stew. Like many Greek dishes, it was born from harder times where a few basic ingredients had to be put together to create a tasty dish.
In Greece, they use ‘gigantes’ (or “giant”) beans – but they’re almost impossible to get in Britain, so I substitute butter beans instead.
You can take the easy option if in a rush by using the canned type, but I prefer it with proper dried beans (they’re in the same section as things like couscous in most supermarkets) that you have to first soak overnight.
You also get the best results using a slow cooker – but equally you could do a baked version or simply boil the dish slowly in a pan.
A portion of this is only 300 calories – and there’s 17g of protein in it.
Try adding some feta cheese too if you want to up both the calorie count and protein. Cut some into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and dip into the stew like croutons.
500g dried butter beans
1 green pepper
1 tbsp garlic paste
100g tomato paste
6 pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1tbsp agave nectar (optional)
Empty the dried beans into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight.
The next morning, drain, empty into a pan and bring to boil. After 10 mins, turn the heat down and allow to simmer.
Chop all the veg and fry in a little olive oil with the garlic.
Drain and rinse the beans (they will still be hard-ish at this point) and empty into a slow cooker. Add the veg, the tomato paste and top up with water.
Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and put the other spices into a pestle and mortar and grind. Add to the stew.
Add the optional agave nectar for a slightly sweeter taste.
Cook until the beans are soft.