A classic Middle Eastern cuisine dish, fasolia is made of tender lamb, white beans, and tomato sauce. It’s a simple dish that packs a lot of flavour and is typically served over rice. This Lebanese fasolia recipe uses tinned beans for convenience and is ready in just under an hour for an easy, yet satisfying dinner.
Fasolia is a traditional recipe in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and there are lots of variations out there. It’s an everyday dish that’s also popular for family gatherings, and it’s typically made with lamb or beef.
The spices used for this Middle Eastern lamb stew differ considerably from one recipe to another, with many versions adding fresh coriander and a mix of seven or more spices. My version only has a blend of cumin and cinnamon, which I believe go particularly well with lamb.
Some other spices you can use in this Lebanese lamb stew include harissa, ground coriander, ground cloves, or Lebanese baharat, a seven-spice powder similar to allspice.
What type of beans should I use in fasolia?
Traditionally, fasolia is made with dry white beans, which are soaked overnight in water. While dry beans are great for making authentic fasolia, you can use tinned cannellini beans instead, which comes in handy when you forget to soak the beans and you need a quick dinner on the table.
If you use tinned beans, you don’t need to cook them for too long; they should be ready in 25-30 minutes. Pre-soaked dry beans need to be cooked first before adding them to the fasolia. You can do it in the pressure cooker if you have one to save time. They should already be tender when you use them in fasolia.
How to make fasolia?
This is a one-pot recipe and the good news is that making fasolia is quite a hands-off process. You start by sauteeing onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add the diced lamb to the same pan and cook for a couple of minutes until sealed but not completely done inside.
Next, add the spices and make sure the meat is well-covered in them. Add the cannellini beans and passata, then pour in the stock to cover.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 25-30 minutes with a lid on, until the meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
And that’s it. Fasolia goes best with rice, but you can also serve it with pita bread and a salad.
How to make fasolia vegan?
If you want to make vegan fasolia, just skip the meat step and use vegetable stock instead of lamb stock. You may also have to reduce the amount of stock you’re using. Only add enough stock to cover the veggies and beans. You can also add some other veggies, too, like carrots, extra onions or even potatoes.
Recipe notes and tips
- You can substitute the lamb in fasolia with beef or chicken.
- If you don’t have lamb stock, you can use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock instead.
- Fasolia can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat it on the hob or in the microwave. You may need to add a bit of stock or water when reheating it.
- Instead of passata, you can use crushed tomatoes or 2 tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste and 200 ml water.
If you liked this Lebanese fasolia recipe, you might also like:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 400 g (1 lb) diced lamb
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 /2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins cannellini beans
- 300 ml ( 1 1/2 cup) passata
- 600 ml (3 cups) lamb stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large pan or pot and fry the onions over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Add the diced lamb and cook for 5-6 minutes until the meat is sealed but not fully cooked. Stir in the cumin and cinnamon and continue to cook for another minute.
Add the cannellini beans and passata, then pour in the stock to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 25-30 minutes with a lid on, until the meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Next, add the fresh parsley and season to taste. Serve over rice or with pita bread.