Fassolatha (White Bean Soup)

White Bean Soup

Jennifer Levy / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 105 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
344 Calories
15g Fat
42g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 344
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 64mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 13g 45%
Protein 14g
Calcium 154mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bean soup or fassolatha (fah-soh-LAH-tha) will be on the menu at least once a week in a Greek household. It's also a staple of the Lenten season. This recipe is hearty, nutritious, and delicious.


  • 1 pound dried white beans (such as Great Northern or Navy beans)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (diced)
  • 2 ribs celery (diced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced plum tomatoes (un-drained)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Dash salt (or to taste)
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

Soaking dried beans rehydrates them and results in more tender beans and shorter cooking time. If you don't have an extra day to soak the beans overnight, you can try the quick soak method below.

Quick Soaking Method

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add beans plus enough water to cover beans by 2 inches to a pot.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons salt and stir.

  4. Bring beans to a rolling boil.

  5. Turn off heat, cover, and soak for an hour.

  6. Drain and rinse beans under cold water before using.

For the Soup:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the beans, water, and olive oil to a large, non-reactive soup pot and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat and simmer covered until beans are tender but not mushy - about 1 hour.

  4. Add vegetables, tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf to the pot and simmer uncovered another 30 to 45 minutes for flavors to meld and soup to thicken a bit.

  5. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  6. Remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

  7. Enjoy!


Adding an acidic ingredient like tomato to the soup before the beans are cooked can toughen the skins on the beans.