Are these green beans REALLY Greek? That’s the name I gave this incredibly flavorful dish because the overall taste profile screams Greek and Mediterranean to me.
I first ate a version of this dish at the Whole Foods Market flagship store in downtown Austin, TX. They used to sell it in the cold prepared food counter, and more than once, I made it my entire lunch. The flavors were so compelling that I started to make my version of it at home. And other than the fact that Matt did not used to eat olives (happily, he does now) and Sam does not eat onions (unfortunately, that has not changed), this dish was STILL a hit at our house. Needless to say, Steve LOVES it. Every bit of it.
Honestly, if a plate full of veggies can taste this rich and delicious, I’m happy to make a whole meal out of it. And, because it is so bold and compelling, it goes well with just about any protein with which it is paired. Once you try them, these Greek green beans will become a part of your menu rotation, I guarantee you.
let’s make some Greek Green Beans
I like to leave the green beans whole. That’s how Whole Foods did it. Not only does it make for a prettier presentation, I find it easier to cut the sizes I need instead of trying to scoop or stab a bunch of bite-sized pieces.
The tomato should be large, firm, and meaty. And sweet onions really round out the flavor profile.
To me, the finished dish is best with the green beans and onions just al dente, the tomatoes just starting to come apart, the Kalamata olives nice and warm, all coated in sautéed garlic and olive oil goodness. Man, my mouth is watering just writing this.
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high. When the pan is hot, reduce the flame to medium or medium-low (depending on your stove), pour in the olive oil and add the beans immediately. You will get some sizzle and maybe a bit of caramelization right away. Stir over and over until all the green beans are coated in olive oil, trying to keep them in as flat a layer as possible against the bottom of the pan. That will ensure they cook more evenly.
After a minute of two, add the onions, garlic, and the Kalamata olives. It’s ok if the garlic gets a little roasty, but make sure they stay tender, and not too chewy. Break the onion layers apart as you stir so there are no large chunks, but instead, individual pieces.
I add the Kalamatas now so that they have to time get nice and warm. There is something magical that happens when Kalamata olives get warm. The flavor is really enhanced.
Sauté the mix, stirring frequently to rotate the items on the bottom to the top, for about 4 minutes, or until the onions just start to get some caramel edges.
Then add the tomato, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wedges. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste (I like a lot of cracked pepper).
Stir to distribute the seasoning, but also, to position the tomato wedges in the bottom of the pan. The dish is basically done, only needing the tomatoes to soften and just start to break apart. About 3 minutes or so.
Then turn off the burner and remove the pan from the stove.
Serve directly from the cast iron skillet, or transfer to a platter and serve while warm. Truthfully, these beans are delicious as a cold salad as well, so it makes for great leftovers. But I think it is at its best when warm.
Sprinkle plenty of chopped parsley over the top. You can drizzle a little more olive oil to taste, or maybe squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice over the top. But frankly, I like it straight out of the pan the way it is.
I paired today’s version with slices of grilled ribeye steak.
Look at those colors! And as pretty it looks, the appearance cannot even compare to the explosion of flavor. I’m a meat lover, but I will tell you that these Greek green beans were not the underdog in this dish.
Beautiful green beans, with just the right amount of tooth feel. The umami deliciousness of sweet caramelized onions, still with just the slightest amount of crunch. The rich creaminess of the wilted tomatoes, the warm brininess of the olives, all held together with a velvety olive oil coating, steeped in garlic and the contribution of all the other ingredients. I really love this dish. I mean, I really, really love this dish.
Something tells me you will too!
- 12 ounces fresh whole green beans
- ½ cup whole Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 cup sweet onion, cut into ¼ to ⅜-inch wedges
- 1 large, ripe but firm tomato, cut into ½ to ¾-inch wedges
- 2 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and the beans.
- Stir repeatedly to coat all the beans in oil, keeping them in as flat a layer as possible in the pan to ensure even cooking.
- After 2 minutes or so, add the onions, garlic, and Kalamata olives. Stir well to break the onion wedges into single pieces. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions start to lightly caramelize on the edges.
- Add the tomato wedges and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then stir to distribute the seasoning and to position the tomato wedges in the bottom of the pan. Stir once after a minute or so to flip the tomato wedges so they can cook on the other side.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner when the tomatoes are tender and just starting to come apart.
- Sprinkle the top generously with the chopped parsley. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, if preferred.
- Serve warm.