Simple Greek-Style Green Beans

January 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm (Alma's faves, B plus, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes) ()

This is a quick but still very tasty recipe for when you’re in a rush. For an even faster recipe leave out the onion and/or garlic, and substitute onion or garlic powder. My 18-month-old (now 2-year-old) always scarfs it up.

Update Feb 2017:

I make this dish often when I need a quick weeknight dinner. It takes me about 30 minutes from start to finish. It would be even faster if I could find pitted kalamata olives. Both Derek and Alma like it. I don’t usually follow a recipe, but here’s my best guess at the ingredients and amounts I use.


  • 2 – 3 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions (white or yellow onion is also okay)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 20 kalamata olives (about 100-125g if they still have their pits in)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. salt (optional, see note)
  • 1 lb / 450g frozen green beans (mine comes in a 1lb box, but a bit more would be ideal, maybe 550 grams)
  • 1 large glass jar of whole tomatoes, with juice, (my jar says 19.5 oz / 550g total weight), broken up with a metal spatula, a wooden spoon, or scissors
  • 1 large glass jar of white beans, drained and rinsed (My jar says 14 oz / 400g drained weight. It’s about 2.25 cups of white beans, or 1 1/4 regular cans of beans.)
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh or frozen minced dill, parsley, or a combination thereof, and/or 1 Tbsp. minced fresh mint leaves (I often just use one 50g box of frozen dill + a bit of chopped parlsey)
  • 6 ounces / 170 g feta cheese
  • chili flakes (to taste on each individual portion)


  1. Mince your garlic and finely chop your onion.
  2. Heat a 12-inch stainless steel skillet or a 3-quart casserole pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil, and then add the onion. Saute about 5 minutes, until soft.
  3. While the onions are cooking, pit and roughly chop the olives. When the onion is soft, add the garlic, and saute another minute. Add the olives, oregano, salt, and green beans. Cook until the green beans are defrosted and softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the white beans, tomatoes, and herbs, and cook until everything is warm. Turn off the heat and crumble in the feta (or crumble the feta on top of individual dishes).

My notes:

This recipe alone (without any sides) makes enough for dinner for 2 adults and 1 toddler, and usually we have enough left for 1 to 2 adult lunches. I would like to increase the amount of green beans slightly, and use a full 200g pack of feta cheese, and then I think there would definitely be enough left for both Derek and I to take it for lunch the next day. I might have to use a slightly larger pan though.

Note that my beans are salted but my tomatoes are not. Derek likes this recipe with 1/4 tsp. salt, but I find it a bit too salty. You’ll have to experiment to figure out the right salt amount based on the salt levels of your beans, tomatoes, and feta. You might not need to add any salt.

I sometimes use giant white beans and sometimes use small white beans. I like both. I don’t usually serve this dish with a grain, since we find that it’s quite filling, probably due to the combination of the starchy white beans, the fibrous green beans, and the fat from the olives and feta.

Alma liked this recipe at 18 months and now she is 2 and she still likes it, as long as I use dill and parsley rather than mint. As of right now (24 months), Alma still wants me to cut up her green beans into smaller bite-sized pieces. I use scissors. If I don’t, then she tends to try to chew them up but eventually spits them out. Alma will eat this dish happily for dinner, but she has never once eaten it as leftovers. I suspect it’s because the green beans go from a bright happy toddler-friendly green to a sad, toddler-hostile putrid green color.

To make this dish really fast, for busy weeknights, I use my own pre-chopped, frozen garlic, and I use frozen herbs and green beans, and tomatoes and beans from a jar or pre-cooked and frozen. If you have time and have fresh ingredients, by all means use them!

For a vegan dish, leave out the feta. You might want to drizzle each plate with olive oil and add a bit more salt, or increase the number of olives a bit.

Nutrition info for 1/4 of the recipe using 2 tsp. olive oil: 367 kcal, 49/34/17%  of calories from carbs/fat/protein. 12g of fiber, 452mg of calcium, 7mg of iron, 42mg of vitamin C, 3mg of zinc, 1173mg of potassium.

Original post from Jan 2008:

In a large 12-inch skillet saute:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10-20 kalamata olives, chopped

When the onions are soft, add:

  • 1 bag (1 lb.?) green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp. dry oregano (optional)

Finally, when the green beans are defrosted, add:

  • 1/2 cup (more?) tomato sauce (or Muir Glen pizza sauce)

Stir and heat through, then serve. Optional: sprinkle with a little crumbled feta.

Variant from July 2010:

I had some green (actually yellow) beans to use up, and some homemade tomato sauce that I pulled out of the freezer, but no olives.  I thought the dish might be slightly bland without olives, so I modified it as follows.

I added a little oil to 12-inchch skillet and heated the beans over high heat, tossing frequently.  Then I threw in about 1/4 cup of water, covered, and let the beans steam until almost tender.  I uncovered the pan and tossed in about 2 Tbs. of a cornmeal/spice mixture that I had made for fried okra.  It was typical fried okra seasonings–cornmeal, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder, cajun seasoning mix, a little basil and thyme.  I let the green beans cook for a minute then tossed in about 1 cup of tomato sauce (homemade, with lots of basil and garlic).  I sprinkled the top with a bit of grated aged gouda, and served.  The dish was very flavorful and decadent tasting, even though I don’t think it actually had all that much fat in it.  Derek scarfed his down.


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