Beans or legumes are one of the great pillars of the Greek Mediterranean diet. Often called ‘poor man’s meat’ they have been the main source of protein for many Greek people since Ancient times, also providing plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. While some people think beans and legumes are pretty boring, they don’t know my mother in law, who has an incredible repertoire of dishes using beans – the genesis for these dishes being her firm belief in limiting the consumption of too much meat in her family diet.
Ma recently shared this recipe with me for black eyed beans (μαυρομάτικα), sometimes known as ‘louvi xero’, swimming in bowl of flavoursome tomato sauce topped with a very generous drizzle of olive oil.
I prefer using dried beans because of their quality – and you can sift out any unhealthy looking beans from the batch. Using dried beans just means you need to remember to soak them in water for about 6 hours – either the night before (if you want to use them in the morning) or soak them in the morning and they’ll be ready to use that evening. After soaking, remove any beans that float to the top and always discard the soaking water, thoroughly rinsing the beans before cooking.
Black eyed peas in tomato sauce (Λουβί ξερό με σάλτσα ντομάτας)
250 gr. of black eyed beans
5 – 6 spring onions finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely chopped dill
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, grated
Salt and pepper
1. Soak dried black eyed beans for a minimum of 6 hours (when they should begin to be visibly plumper) to as long as overnight.
2. Boil black eyed beans for about ten minutes and drain.
3. Add olive oil to a saucepan and saute onions and garlic on very low heat until soft.
4. Add the black-eyed peas, the herbs, salt and pepper as well as the tomatoes. Add water to cover them and simmer until the sauce has melded and thickened.