Slow-Cooked Middle Eastern Green Beans

Sometimes you end up with beans that have seen better days. They may be large, tough, stringy or even starting to turn a little brown on the edges. When that happens, this is the green bean dish you need to make.
By / Photography By Sarah Seddon | February 15, 2006


Wash the green beans and top and tail them using Grandma's technique to remove any fibrous strings that may be running down the sides of the beans. Snap or cut the beans into one-inch pieces.

Finely chop one large onion and open a 14.5-ounce can of peeled tomatoes.

Heat a pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat on the stove. With the lid off, add a good slug of olive oil to the pan. When the oil has warmed, add the onion and stir. Cook until the onion has turned brown, stirring occasionally, but don't let it burn. Add the green beans to the pan and swirl them around in the onion and olive oil. You want the outside of the beans to get shiny from the oil and even a little blistered. Turn down the heat to low, and smoosh the canned tomatoes through your fingers to break them up into small pieces as you add them to the pan (or cut the tomatoes in the can with a scissors before dumping them into the beans).

For a more exotic flavor you can add a couple pinches of cinnamon at this point, but the beans are also good without it. Stir everything together, season with salt, put on the lid, and cook low and slow, stirring periodically. Depending on the starting quality of your beans, it may take 45 minutes to an hour for the beans to be done. The beans will have turned that dark green, almost gray, color and will be extremely soft.

Scoop the beans into a low, flat dish. You may want to season them with a little more olive oil and salt. Tear warmed pita (pocket) bread into pieces and use them to scoop up mouthfuls of the oily, oniony, tomatoey, beans.

Related Stories & Recipes


  • Green beans
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
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