Monday, October 27, 2014

Cranberry Beans in Olive Oil, Borlotti Beans in Olive Oil, Fasulya Bil Zayt

Cranberry beans or Borlotti beans are similar to Pinto beans in shape but taste different. The pod itself is so beautiful, it is like a mad artist's project; strokes of every shade of fuchsia. The pleasure of looking at them makes up for their high price of 3.99 per pound. I was delighted to find them at my local Middle Eastern Market and scooped up 2 pounds with the intention to make this dish as soon as I get home.

I had the perfect fresh organic tomatoes and parsley from the Farmer's market visit that same morning. The stars are aligned and Fasulya Bil Zayt is in my future.
This dish is not only perfect for lunch or a part of a mezze spread but it actually tastes better the next day, like most bean dishes, with some eggs for a perfect brunch. Stay tuned and I will show you how to make it.
My daughter Alya loves to help me in the kitchen and I love her companionship. She helps me and initiates discussions and I get a glimpse of what is going in that brain of hers. Besides, when she helps out, she normally eats whatever we make because in her mind she cooked it. Do not underestimate the power of the feeling of ownership, especially with kids. In this case, her job was to get all the cranberry beans out of the pods.
Dried beans can be used, but they have to soaked overnight, if you can not find cranberry beans, you can substitute them with pinto beans or any other bean you like.


2 lb cranberry beans
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil
1 potato
2 carrots
2-3 tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of pepper paste
1/2 to 1 cup of hot water
Salt and pepper
Parsley for decoration


Soak the cranberry beans in hot water for a hour or so. Altough the beans are not the dried kind but soaking in water will help the beans cook faster and most importantly reduce the bloating side effect.
Finely chop the onion and the garlic
Peel and dice the potato and carrot into half inch cubes.
In a pot over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the finely chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, please do not overcook the garlic as it will turn brown and bitter.
While the onion is cooking you can dice the fresh tomato if using. I don't mind keeping the skin, but if you do, you can easily get rid of the skin just as I do in the tomato sauce recipe. Click here to read about it.

Once the garlic is fragrant, add the carrots and potatoes, you can add 2 more  tablespoons of olive oil to cook the potatoes and carrots for 5 minutes. The carrots and potatoes will melt in the sauce eventually.

Add the diced tomatoes and let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes disintegrate

Add some hot water with the tomato paste, pepper paste and the rest of the olive oil. Let it cook for 5 minutes

Add the salt and pepper

Add the beans and cover the pot and lower the heat to low. Let it cook for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, check on the beans doneness and add water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve hot, warm or room temperature with finely chopped parsley and pita bread. I make my own pita bread every now and then, click here for the recipe.

For how to peel the tomato skin, click here
For Pita Bread Recipe, click here



  1. Love the fact that you found fresh cranberry beans ! Will try if I ever find them here:)

    1. I did a little mental happy dance when I found them!