Warm Green Bean Salad (αμπελοφάσουλα)


For those not in the know, today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada and it’s Columbus Day in much of the US. You might find blogging traffic a little slower and these two holidays are probably part of that absence today.

Regardless, I find myself wanting to share more food and travel experiences from my recent trip to Greece.

You will recall that I visited the island of Sifnos and that as a food enthusiast, one of the criterion I chose when picking a travel destination is it’s food.

Sifnos did not disappoint. I had one of my most memorable meals on the last night of my stay in the island.

Picture this:

I had just finished a full tan of swimming and tanning, I had a light lunch and for those that swim alot will know that one’s appetite is increased after a good swim.

I plopped myself into the seat of a seaside taverna, covered to protect us from still hot sun, Greek music playing in the background, the sounds of other Greeks eating, cracking jokes and dreading their return to the city.

I order grilled & stuffed calamari, a baked feta with tomato and hot peppers and I had ordered a plate of vlita. Al this would be accompanied by the day’s fresh baked bread and a carafe of Tsipouro (raki).

The waiter-dude comes back and tells me there’s no more vlita but that I should try the αμπελοφάσουλα” or, warm bean salad. “It’s good with seafood”, he assures me.

Myself, tired and hungry – I comply.

This one of food’s weird, surprising and most enjoyable food finds. It’s so simple yet when the ingredients are fresh, the easy preparation only heightens the taste and overall eating experience.

Essentially, this warm bean salad is boiled in salted water to an “al dente”stage, it’s then shocked in an ice bath (to retain it’s vibrant green colour) but strained quickly enough to keep the beans very warm.

In my research, this warm bean salad is served with Skordalia – a Greek aioli if you will. In my instance, it was served warm, obviously tasting of lots of garlic, tossed in extra virgin olive and fresh lemon juice and seasoned with sea salt.

Vlita or boiled wild greens are a favourite accompaniment for many Greeks but “ampelofasoula” will give them a run for their money.

That last dinner in Sifnos was most memorable and I’d have to say this warm bean salad was truly the highlight for me.

Warm Green
Bean Salad (αμπελοφάσουλα)

Approx. 1lb. of green beans, trimmed
3 cloves of roasted garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
black pepper

  1. Take a whole bulb of garlic and just cut the top off with a knife. Place inside some aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap it up with foil and place in a pre-heated 400F for 30-40 minutes. You now have roasted garlic – reserve.
  2. Place a large pot of water on your stove top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and drop your green beans inside. From the time the water returns to a boil, count 5 minutes and your beans are done. Blanch in an ice bath or pass under cold water but you still want to keep the beans warm. Strain and place in a large bowl
  3. Add 3 cloves of roasted garlic with the beans, along with the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to coat and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.
  4. Serve warm as a side dish to your favourite seafood.

© 2008 – 2010,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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55 Comments for “Warm Green Bean Salad (αμπελοφάσουλα)”

Joanna

says:

That’s a very good trick with the beans. And I can imagine they’d be delicious with skordalia, my favourite favourite Greek food

Joanna

kittie

says:

Is it fate that I have half a bulb of roasted garlic, and a bunch of green beans at home??

Simple is most definitely good!

Núria

says:

Ai Peter! YOu sound a bit melancholic here… no wonder! What lovely pictures, those white streets, ahh… so beautiful :D

Concerning the beans, this is a wonderful way to have them… so easy and so tasteful with that roasted garlic!!!! Mmmmm have to give them a try :D

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

says:

I remember all too vividly the first Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family. All of the food on the table was brown, or shades of brown! These green beans would have been a very welcome addition.

Judy@nofearentertaining

says:

I love anything with roasted garlic and am always looking for knew ways to dress up veggies. Can’t wait to try this!

Nina Timm

says:

I make a warm bean salad, but with parmesan. I think this Greek version is my next attempt….Great tan you have,Peter!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

says:

Your salad looks so fresh and beautiful! I love green beans, especially in salads. I sometimes make something similar with boiled potatoes too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Maria

says:

I love recipes that have a short yet highly flavorful list of ingredients and this surely fits the bill. Looks delicious.

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels

says:

So glad you haven’t run out of posts and photos from your vacation. I’ve enjoyed every single one.

Cathy at Wives with Knives

says:

I spent 3 weeks in Greece several years ago and your recipes and wonderful photos bring back lots of great memories. Love the beans.

Helen

says:

Oh, sometimes the simplest recipes are just the best aren’t they?! Ah, this reminds me of summer and I am still loving your Greece pictures!

Foodycat

says:

It sounds delicious and I am jealous as hell about the circumstances under which you ate it! Happy thanksgiving.

Farmer Jen

says:

Simple and delicious. Just like my Mom and Yiayia made. Thanks Peter! And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Paula

says:

Happy Thanksgiving! I am a big fan of “the bean”. I ate this all the time growing up, although it was made with Italian beans. YUM! Love the photos of Greece, that water looks so inviting and those white washed houses look like something from a postcard. Love the terracotta lights, too!

Lo

says:

Happy Thanksgiving, Peter!

These green beans look fabulous. I’m actually kicking myself now that I left a big, beautiful bag of green beans sitting at the farmer’s market this weekend!

Ben

says:

After a long swim anything sounds good, right? I am looking at those greenbeans and their vibrant color and thinking that they would look great in a plate for dinner tonight :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Natashya

says:

Looks yummy, but what I really want is some of those terra cotta lamps – did you bring one home for me?
ps, Happy Thanksgiving. xxoo

Peter G

says:

Beans with skordalia…a classic pairing Peter. It’s amazing how the tastiest options come to us accidentally!…

Brittany

says:

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love bean salad, I usually crumble some sort of salty pork over it like pancetta, but I should try and refrain next time and try this version.

GOD that is a beautiful tan. My pasty Washington State skin is so jealous.

Heather

says:

Uh, I can’t help but notice those green beans are missing an important ingredient: cream of mushroom soup.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ferdzy

says:

Goodness, Peter, that looks fabulous. So bright and green.

Hope you have had a happy thanksgiving.

OhioMom

says:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love green beans, and this salad looks wonderful. May find it’s way to my Thanksgiving table :)

winedeb

says:

Ah Peter, good to see that you are still serving up such great dishes. Last time I tuned into your site you were on vacation. I see that it was an enjoyable one! Those green beans looks delicious and skordalia is one of our favorite treats. We love it smothered atop fresh bread! That and a chilled white wine…perfect beginning of the end of the day!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Pam

says:

Darn, I think beans are over with here. I still love those jar things on the stairs, do they have candles in them, or lights?

Kit Kat

says:

Salad looks delicious! Btw, thanks so much for checking out (and commenting on) my blog. That’s such a compliment!

Lori Lynn

says:

Ha. I wrote about green beans today too Peter. Excellent side dish indeed! Yours looks fabulous. Love your pics of Greece! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

noobcook

says:

Love the trick about dipping the beans in ice water to retain its vibrant colours… I will try it next time! It’s amazing that you are able to duplicate every thing you tried in Greece, wish I could do the same too =) Happy Thanksgiving!

Hélène

says:

oh yes beans with lemon. Good idea. I dream about Greece now. Thanks for the picture Peter.

Bellini Valli

says:

I’m not surprised that this was delicious. Now I see also that the pttery is lights…how pretty:D

Jeff

says:

Sweet…I just picked up a lb of beans at the farmer’s market and was debating their cooking purpose the other day.

Grace

says:

i’m loving your pictures. in case i never make it to greece, i can die knowing i lived vicariously through you. :)
i love green beans, and this sounds quite tasty.

Sandie

says:

I’ve had similar beans in other cuisines, and have loved them all—they’re always so crisp and tasty! I’ll be sure to give your Greek version a try.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Aimée

says:

I bet the roasted garlic makes all the difference. Lovely color on those beans.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sifi

says:

Peter, this is one of my standbys and you make it just like my grandma did! On a summer day there is nothing better, with good bread and a glass of barrel wine!
Your blog is absolutely wonderful. Thanks for all your hard work. It really shows.

Passionate About Baking

says:

Love the green beans. I’ve begun roasting garlic in the oven whenever I’m baking something else. That ensures I always have roasted garlic in the fridge! Nice post Peter!