You may be surprised to learn that there are quite a few Levantine dishes that are either vegetarian and/or vegan. Middle Eastern cooking involves fresh produce, olive oil and bread. Of course, there are plenty of dishes with beef but in general, salads are dairy-free and meat-free. It’s a nice change from American cooking where everything has a creamy sauce and is filled with cheese – I’m a cheese fanatic (like I can easily spend an hour in Wegmans cheese section) but there are moments when I appreciate a pure veggie dish.
Today’s green bean and tomato salad recipe is based on a Syrian classic (fasoulyeh b’zayt which literally translates as “green beans with oil) that my mom used to make while growing up. Sometimes she would put meat in it (for my dad’s sake) but other times she would keep it low calorie and vegan. We would eat it with rice (if beef was involved) or just with bread. I definitely did not appreciate it growing up since I only tolerated green beans then but A and I wiped our plates clean when I made this the other day. Mom’s version doesn’t have cilantro but it makes a great addition. Add more if you love cilantro!
Green bean and tomato salad with cilantro
- 1/2 pound Romano beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 T olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- Cilantro, garnish
- Pita bread
- In a skillet, heat olive oil.
- Add green beans and salt and stir. Sauté green beans on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add garlic cloves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Top with tomatoes and stir. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Top your green bean and tomato salad with cilantro and serve with pita bread.