Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lubiyeh (Lebanese String Beans with Tomato and Olive Oil)

Green beans are called lubiyeh in Arabic, and are most often stewed with tomatoes like this. My mother in law was a fantastic cook, but she wasn't very forthcoming with the recipes, even when we moved a continent away. Once we lived so far, I was very happy that I spent so much time in the kitchen watching her cook because it really helped this Italian girl figure out some of my favorite Arabic dishes. But the biggest help was a kind woman I met in California, Marge Hanna, who was the best Arabic cook ever, and who graciously shared recipes and taught me how to make my husband's favorite foods, like warak enab, ful, kibbee snayieh, and lubieh. Thanks Marge! I still make your cauliflower mishat!


1 1/2 lbs green beans, cleaned
2 - 3 large onions, halved and then sliced
3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (flavor matters!)
16 oz can of diced tomatoes in tomato juice
approx 1/2 tsp salt
approx 1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp allspice or arabic spice blend

Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat until softened and translucent. Add green beans, saute until they get a bit of color and onion turns golden. Add garlic, saute another minute, then add tomatoes, salt, black pepper and allspice. Cover tightly and simmer until the string beans are cooked to your liking, but definitely on the soft side, at least 12 or 15 minutes, or even more if you are Lebanese. I don't care for mushy veggies much, so I cooked them for about 15 minutes.

Notes: If you add a rinsed and drained can of chick peas and serve this over rice, you have a complete meal! Another delicious meal adds about a pound of cubed lamb or even beef to this - this is called Yakhnit Lubiyeh. First you brown the cubes of meat well in olive oil, then add the onions and continue as above, but cooking long enough to cook and tenderize the meat. Add the string beans when the meat is tender. Read my previous post at where I described the arabic spice mix that I keep on hand.

This is my submission for Sweet Nick's 5 a Day found at Go there and check out her blog - its great!

A note from my ff (first and favorite) goddaughter: Hi Denise, I just want to let you know that I made that green bean dish last night. I had it as a side dish for 3 inch thick stuffed pork chops. I added a few twists to the green bean dish. First I browned the chops in a big sautépan, so I used that oil. Then I added a little bit of chicken broth and red wine. Since I read that the Lebanese like the beans mushy, I knew I had canned beans in my pantry (...those are the only kind Jeff likes...) So, Iused the canned beans. It was delicious, Jeff and the kids loved it!Thanks!!! Love, Colleen


Elizabeth said...

Oh, I've always thought of these as Greek green beans! :-) We love these, and I always serve them as a vegan/Lenten meal, along with cooked hulled barley (not pearl barley, which has it's nutrients stripped off) and some toasted nuts. Yum, yum.

leila said...

hi! can you give me the recipe for cauliflower mishat?? my father is craving it bad and i have no idea how to make it! thank you

Wayne said...

That is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much for posting, you rock!

Redloon said...

Hello, My mom is lebanese and between her and my grandmother, I am a pretty good lebanese cook!!! hehehe, this dish is one of my absolute favorites, my familly usually includes whole cloves of garlic, in their skins. these are added with the beans, and they get lovely and mushy inside.... we used to fight among ourselves to grab the garlic cloves while seving ourselves. Do try it and see.

Redloon said...

btw she has just started her own blog, H in the kitchen!!! I am her first follower, and these dishes are more her experiments and adaptations and cooking fun. I am sure she would be happy to share her lebanese recipes. she has AN EXTENSIVE repertoire.

Verena said...

I love these and have been wanting to make them- thanks!

Kat said...

I was searching for "Lebanese green beans" and arrived at your blog. This recipe was exactly what I was looking for - super tasty! Choukran :)

Evy said...

An absolutely brilliant recipe! Thank you!! My partner asserted that the lubiyeh I've made is better than the one in the Lebanese restaurant we often go to.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

When I make it I usually add cut up potatoes at the same time as the string beans. You can also substitute sweet potatoes.If you don't have the Arabic spice or allspice cinnamon works great.
Another variation is after you add all ingredients to the pot, top off with as much kale as you can fit in the pot. I tried it for the first time this weekend and it was a hit.

Diana Birdsall said...

Brilliant recipe! Can someone give me the correct pronunciation for Lubiyeh?


Diana Birdsall said...

Brilliant recipe! Can someone tell me the correct pronunciation for Lubiyeh?

Denise Babineau Norman said...

Hi Diana,

I am so happy that you like this recipe, since it is one of my family's personal favorites and brings back many happy memories of meals at my mother-in-law's dining room table. The way I've heard this pronounced is:
LOO BEE YEH, with the accent on the first syllable.



Anonymous said...

One of my favorite meals when i was young. My mother made them with spare ribs. We are sicilian so i thought it was from there. I guess good food is shared by all.

Anonymous said...

I make this every year when the fresh green beans come out in the garden. has anyone ever tried canning this once its cooked. I want to start canning this year and I thought this would be nice to try

Anonymous said...

hi Denise, I love making this recipes when the beans are in season. Just wondering if you know if this can be canned after it is cooked?. I would love to give it as gifts, throughout the year. Have you ever canned it? thanks Marie from Canada

Anonymous said...

My family uses Cinnamon instead of Allspice. This could be a recipe variation from Zahle, Lebanon. Not sure, but I prefer it this way.

Charise Otis said...

My boyfriend ways this all the time what is the best rice to make with it?

Denise Babineau Norman said...

Charise, any rice is good with this, but Lebanese people make a simple pilaf as their go-to, everyday rice dish. To make it, decided how much rice you want to make. For each cup of dry rice, you will need 1/4 C of broken vermicelli, or orzo. In the pot you are going to make the rice in, melt a few tablespoons of butter. Break up the pasta into pieces an inch or two. Saute the pasta in the butter till lightly browned and golden. Add the rice, stir till it is coated with the butter. Add the water and salt and cook as you would normally. This is simple, and really delicious, and best of all, it tastes fantastic with Lubiyeh! Hope this is helpful.

Debi Modzelewski said...

My mom made this with lamb chunks ..sautéed with onions and pepper and garlic. Added tomatoes last and served over rice! I just mar it tonight!!