Lebanese-inspired Fasolia, or white bean stew, is a hearty, flavorful, one-pot dish that can easily be made vegan. Traditionally cooked with meat, this vegan version focuses on white beans and the rich tomato-based sauce, complemented by various Middle Eastern spices and vegan sausage.
This dish is great for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
What is Fasolia?
Actually, "fasolia" (aka "fasoulia" or "fassoulia") is the Arabic term for "beans." The term is commonly used to refer to bean dishes, especially stews and soups made with white beans. The word can also refer to beans as an ingredient in a broader sense, not just in the context of specific dishes.
Fasolia, the dish, is a traditional stew that you'll find in kitchens all across the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It primarily consists of white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans, and often includes ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and various herbs and spices.
The dish is known for its hearty and comforting nature, often served with rice or bread. Fasolia can be prepared in various ways, with some versions including meat, while others are kept vegetarian or vegan. It's a versatile dish, accommodating different ingredients and adaptations so feel free to adapt the recipe to your preferences.
How to Veganize Fasolia
For this vegan fasolia version, I use sausage to add extra flavor and texture. However, if you prefer a strictly whole-foods meal, you can leave out the sausage and add mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, or green beans for extra texture. This vegan version of Fasolia maintains the dish's essence while offering a plant-based, protein-rich meal.
Why You'll Love This Stew
- Easy and Economical: Vegan Fasolia is straightforward to prepare with simple, affordable ingredients - especially if you leave out the sausage, which can be a little expensive. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly meal that doesn't compromise on taste or quality.
- Rich in Flavor: Combining garlic, onions, tomatoes, and Middle Eastern spices creates a deeply satisfying and aromatic experience.
- Hearty and Filling: Packed with protein-rich beans, this stew is hearty and filling, making it a perfect meal for those seeking both nourishment and comfort in their food.
- Health Benefits: As a plant-based dish, vegan Fasolia is not only lower in calories and fat compared to its meat-containing counterparts, but it's also high in fiber and nutrients, contributing to a healthier diet.
- Versatility: This dish is wonderfully adaptable. You can tweak the spices to suit your palate or add your favorite veggies, making it a versatile recipe that never gets boring.
- Cannellini Beans: 2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained, or 2 cans (15 oz each) for convenience. Substitute with any white bean.
- Vegan Sausage
- Tomatoes: 2 large, diced, or 1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes.
- Tomato Paste
- Vegetable Broth
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Cilantro or Parsley
Notes On Vegan Sausage
Incorporating vegan sausage or chorizo into your Fasolia can add a delicious depth of flavor. I generally tend not to use vegan sausage much, but in this stew, I feel it enriches the stew with a savory, umami quality that beautifully complements the beans and vegetables.
Meatless alternatives come in various kinds, like soy-based, seitan, or pea protein versions, each offering a unique texture and taste.
Soy-based sausages are juicier and softer, while seitan-based ones provide a chewier, meat-like texture. Pea protein options are a great middle ground, with a balanced texture and often packed with extra nutrients. Flavors range from spicy chorizo to milder Italian-style and everything in between, allowing you to tailor the stew to your taste preference.
Here are some pics of the process for you to see what you'll be doing.
Prepare Beans: If using dried beans, make sure they are soaked overnight and then drained.
Cook the Vegan Sausage: In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the vegan sausage or chorizo until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Sauté Onions: In the same pot, add a little more olive oil if needed. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add a pinch of salt to begin layering and bringing out flavor.
Garlic and Spices: Add garlic and spices and sauté for about another minute.
Add Tomato Paste: Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes to deepen the flavor.
Diced Tomatoes: Add the can of diced tomatoes until the tomatoes start to break down - about 4 or 5 minutes. Add another pinch of salt.
Add Beans and Broth: Add the beans and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes if using canned beans. If using soaked beans, simmer for an hour to an hour and a half until the beans soften.
Add Vegan Sausage and Cilantro: After simmering, return the cooked vegan sausage and add the cilantro or parsley to the pot. Stir well and continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Season and Serve: Season the stew with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice before serving.
Serve: Ladle the stew into bowls. Squeeze more lemon juice over each serving if you want, and garnish with additional cilantro.
Optional Sides: Fasolia can be served alone or with Arabic Rice with Vermicelli Noodles, white rice, any crusty bread, or with a side of pita bread.
These tips are geared toward making this vegan Fasolia, but some tips are great to remember when making any stew.
-Add a pinch of salt throughout the cooking process. This will significantly enhance and deepen its flavor. It's a technique known as seasoning in layers. You start by adding a bit of salt when sautéing the vegetables, which helps to draw out their natural flavors. As the stew cooks, periodically taste and add more salt in small increments. Finally, a last taste and adjustment towards the end of cooking ensures the flavor is well-balanced. Since the stew's liquid reduces over time, concentrating flavors, it's important to be cautious with salt and taste often.
-Make sure to sauté the tomato paste for a few minutes before adding other ingredients to the stew to deepen its flavor. This process, known as caramelizing or browning, reduces the paste's acidity and bitterness while enhancing its sweetness and umami. It also helps develop a richer, more complex base for this simple stew. It only needs a couple of minutes to caramelize.
In a dish like Fasolia, the method of preparing garlic - whether crushing in a mortar or mincing - can influence the dish's overall flavor profile. I love crushing garlic for stews and soups. I find it produces a robust, pungent flavor that deeply infuses the stew like nothing else. But it's fine to mince the garlic - it yields a finer, more delicate texture and a somewhat milder flavor but still comes out very good.
Fasolia generally has a thicker consistency, making it a stew instead of a soup. It really depends on the regional variation you're having. The beans themselves contribute to the soup’s thickness as they release starch into the broth during cooking. However, if you like it a little soupier, add an extra cup of veggie broth to the stew.
I mentioned earlier in the post that you can make this stew without the vegan sausage. If you do, I highly recommend adding some other vegetables to vary the texture of the stew and decrease the amount of liquid you use.
- Add ½ teaspoon of allspice.
- Add more vegetables like carrots, zucchini, spinach, or kale. The spinach or kale can be added towards the end of the cooking process to retain their texture and nutrients. Carrots and zucchini can be added after sauteing the onions.
It can be. To create a gluten-free vegan Fasolia with vegan sausage, start by selecting a gluten-free, vegan sausage made from legume-based proteins like pea protein. Ensure all other ingredients, including vegetable broth and spices, are also gluten-free, as they can sometimes contain hidden gluten. Once you've sourced these gluten-free alternatives, simply follow your regular Fasolia recipe.
You can use cannellini beans, butter beans, Great Northern beans, or navy beans. Each type offers a slightly different texture and flavor but works well in this dish. Cooking times for the dried versions may also vary.
Yes. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until the beans are tender and the flavors melded.
If your stew is too thin, you can mash some of the beans to thicken it or let it simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid.
Yes, Vegan Fasolia freezes well. Cool the stew completely, then store it in airtight containers. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil - divided
- 1 package vegan sausage or chorizo (about 8-12 ounces), sliced or crumbled.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes
- 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans or 2 cups dried, soaked overnight and drained
- 3 cups vegetable broth (if using soaked dried beans, use about 5 cups)
- ½ cup cilantro + more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- juice of ½ a lemon
- Prepare Beans: If using dried beans, make sure they are soaked overnight and then drained.
- Cook the Vegan Sausage: In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the vegan sausage or chorizo until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Sauté Onions: In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until they are soft and golden.
- Garlic and Spices: Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and cinnamon, and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant and the spices are toasted.
- Add Tomato Paste: Stir in the tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes until the tomato paste is caramelized.
- Add a Can of Diced Tomatoes: Add the diced tomatoes and another pinch of salt. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down - about 4-5 minutes.
- Add Beans and Broth: Add the white beans and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook the Stew: If using dried beans, simmer for about 1 - 1 ½ hours or until the beans are tender. If using canned beans, simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add Vegan Sausage and Cilantro: Stir in the chopped cilantro and sausage. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Season: Season the stew with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
- Serve: Squeeze half a lemon into the pot of soup. Alternatively, ladle the stew into bowls. Squeeze some lemon juice over each serving and garnish with additional cilantro.
You can substitute the cannellini beans with any white beans including butter beans, Great Northern, or navy bean.
Gradually seasoning with salt as you cook the stew enhances flavor - so use a pinch of salt throughout cooking the stew.
Make sure to sauté tomato paste to deepen flavor, reducing acidity and enhancing sweetness and umami.
Minced garlic is fine, but try crushing it in mortar for a nice, robust flavor.
Fasolia's thickness comes from the beans' starch, but you can add one more cup of vegetable broth for a soupier consistency.
If excluding vegan sausage, add various vegetables such as carrots or mushrooms to maintain texture. Also, reduce the liquid in the stew by about ½ cup to maintain a "stewy" consistency.
Nutritional profile can only be estimated due to variations in the types of vegan sausages and beans used.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: stews and soups
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Lebanese-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 1 Bowl
- Calories: 295
- Sugar: 8.4 g
- Sodium: 1393.6 mg
- Fat: 11.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.9 g
- Protein: 16.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Keywords: stew, fall, autumn, winter, quick, cannellini, white bean, soup