Loubieh Bi’ Zayt, food for health and fast days

Some dishes are tastier the next day. Loubieh bi’ zayt or green beans in oil is one of them. Cooking ‘in oil’ or 'bil zayt' is popular in Lebanon; it is another way of saying that the meal is free of meat. Easy to prepare and inexpensive 'in oil' dishes are served at room temperature and will last for a few days. 

Loubieh bi zeit is one of my favourite; the nearest bean to Badrieh- a variety used in Lebanon - is Helda. It is stringless, tender and full of flavour. When cooked, it acquires an almost creamy texture.  Furthermore the combination of tomato with garlic and olive oil is absolutely gratifying.

Beans are also full of nutrients and antioxidants; cooking them with ‘in oil’ is both healthy and tasty. It can be a side dish or simply eaten with a bread. 

Green beans in a rich tomato sauce
loubieh bi' zayt

500 g green beans
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
1 level tablespoon tomato concentrate diluted in 200 ml boiling water
200g chopped tomatoes
Sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil 
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil  

Serves 4 to 5
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

  1. Place the oil in a deep pan and sauté the onions on medium heat, until soft and translucent. 
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the beans and stir them in the onion and garlic mixture.  
  4. Cover with a lid and leave to cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, until the beans are a darker green colour.  
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the tomato concentrate. Once the mixture starts to boil again, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the beans are soft and most of the liquid has been reduced.
  7. Check the seasoning and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish, allow cooling. Eat at room temperature. 

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