Although I’m usually not a fan of cooking vegetables to death, Romano beans can be a bit tougher than other varieties of green beans. That’s why they’re perfect for Loubieh Bi Zeit. By frying them in olive oil first before braising them with spices and tomatoes, they end up with a creamy texture that will fill your mouth with flavor with each bite.
The sweet sun-ripened flavors of the tomatoes, play the perfect counterpoint to the verdant flavor of the green beans, while the flavorful onions and garlic synergize with other ingredients to create a simple summer side with unbeatable flavor. The only other seasoning that goes into Loubieh Bi Zeit is Baharat, a Middle Eastern blend of seven spices.
Baharat shares some similar ingredients with other spice blends such as Garam Masala and Ras Al Hanout, but the fragrance of this unique blend of spices has an emphasis on sweet spices like all-spice, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves; which are balanced by warmer spices like paprika, black pepper and cumin. You can pick it up at Middle Eastern grocery stores, but it’s fairly easy to make if you have a reasonably well stocked spice drawer; just combine roughly equal parts of the seven spices above. For my blend, I tend to go a little lighter on cloves and cumin while putting more emphasis on the all-spice.
I usually serve my Loubieh Bi Zeit with pita, but if you make enough to have leftovers(which you by all means should), it’s also delicious served over rice, wrapped in a tortilla, or sandwiched between a crusty baguette. Also, like most stews, this one gets better after spending a night in the fridge, which makes it a great make-ahead meze for a party along with some hummus and tabouleh.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 280 grams onion (1 large onion, diced)
- 45 grams garlic (crushed)
- 2 teaspoons baharat (Lebanese seven spice mix)
- 320 grams Romano beans (a.k.a. flat beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths)
- 260 grams ripe tomatoes (6 small tomatoes, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Flat-leaf parsley
- Add the olive oil onions and garlic to a pan and fry over medium heat until the onions are tender and starting to brown.
- Add the Baharat and fry for a few seconds to release its aroma before adding the Romano beans. Saute until the beans are a vibrant green.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and then cover the pan with a lid. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally (about 25 minutes).
- When the beans are tender, remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium-high, allow any excess liquid to evaporate so that the sauce is nice and thick.
- Garnish the Loubieh Bi Zeit with flat-leaf parsley. You can serve it warm or at room temperature with pita bread.