Turkish Recipes

Vegetarian and Mint Cannellini Beans (Zeytinyağlı Naneli Kuru Fasulye)

Cannellini beans, which are known as dry beans or simply "dry", along with rice is the traditional Turkish dish. If there are pickles on the side, especially cabbage, voila, jackpot! There are variations on this recipe based on what type of meat you want to use or, rarely, a vegetarian version. You can cook dry cannellinis with stew beef or lamb, with ground beef – my least preferred, Pastrami (Pastirma) -yummand / or Soujuk (sucuk, Middle East / Turkish sausage).

Although the dish traditionally contains meat, as kids in my house we loved the olive oil! i.e. the vegetarian version is the best, especially in summer. Mom's vegetarian summer version contains no meat, but sweet green chillies, fresh mint leaves and sun-dried tomatoes. Delicious!

For 4 people
2 cups of soaked cannellini beans (1 cup soaked overnight makes ~ 2 cups) or 2 cans of cannellini beans (although the taste will be different, you can use beans from the north or navy as well)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2-3 sweet green chilies or peppers that you can like or finely chop

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped or 1-1 1/2 tbsp dry mint leaves

1/3 cup or more sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tomato, grated or preserved dainty tomato cubes


3-4 tbsp olive oil

– Put olive oil in a cast iron pot and heat (you can use any type of pot, but beans are best cooked in cast iron or clay pots)

– Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it is soft but not brown.

– Add green peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.

– Add garlic and tomato paste. Let simmer for 2 minutes.

– Add beans, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh or dry mint leaves and grated tomatoes. Let simmer for 2 minutes.

– Add water to flow almost an inch over the beans. Salt to your taste.

– Bring to a boil, then simmer on low to medium temperature for 30-40 minutes. If you use canned beans, 30 minutes is enough. If you've soaked the beans overnight, check the beans after 40 minutes. You may need an hour or a little more.

-Enjoy with rice or any type of cereal on the side or crusty bread to soak that delicious tomato juice. Yogurt and pickled vegetables are the most popular dry bean sites.

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