Recipe Corner: Opa! A Healthy Greek Salad for Summer Green Beans and Potatoes


Here’s a Mediterranean salad recipe perfect for hot summer weather, an updated version of the Greek green bean stew, fasolakia.  It was recently featured by long-time food and wine writer (Los Angeles Times), blogger, and cookbook author, Barbara Hansen at her must-read food blog,

“Instead of a hearty hot dish, it’s a light salad of green beans, potatoes and tomatoes, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh dill.  It’s spectacular to look at, but super simple to make,” says Barbara.

The recipe is from Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook by Theo Stephan and Christina Xenos. (To order, go to: or

Author Theo Stephan is the owner of Global Gardens, an olive farm in the Santa Ynez Valley in California.  Her previous cookbooks included Olive Oil and Vinegar for Life: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Caliterranean Living (To order, go to:  Theodora lives in Los Olivos with her two daughters.

Christina Xenos is a personal chef, culinary and travel writer. Her writing has appeared in publications such as the Forbes Travel Guide and She lives in Los Angeles.

Bring the healthy and mouthwatering flavors of Greece home with Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook. Filled with traditional dishes, this Greek cookbook combines great tastes with food that’s good for you.  From Kalamata Olive Spread and Vegetable Moussaka to Shrimp Santorini and Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts, these dishes will have you shouting “Opa!”

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Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook includes:

  • 90 healthy Greek recipes―Discover how easy it is to craft sumptuous Greek dishes in your kitchen using easy-to-find ingredients and simple instructions.
  • Helpful tips and tricks―This cookbook is filled with handy suggestions for substituting ingredients, advice for better cooking, timesavers, and more.
  • Live Greek―Get insight into why Greek food is so good for you―as well as healthy lifestyle tips drawn straight from Greece.

Xenos contributed the recipe, adding bright flavors and substituting crisp green beans for limp stewed beans.  “Greek cooking has always been healthy,” she said during a recent book-signing at Melissa’s Produce,” (  And she has made it even healthier with modernized versions of classics such as this one. “This book represents how we eat today,” she added.

This Greek cookbook brings you authentic dishes without needing to visit the Mediterranean to shop.  Learn how to stock your pantry, explore Greek flavor profiles, and master cooking skills and techniques.  Xenos’ Greek roots are in Crete. “Dining together is the cornerstone of Greek culture,” she writes in the introduction to the book.  “These recipes and way of living define the way I cook for my family, friends, and clients — preparing healthy food for longevity.”

“Opa’s the word for this book so full of the smells of basil and lemon and fish on the grill, soothed by olive oil, salted by sea air, shaded by vines from blinding white against bluest blue, that I want to run to my kitchen and dance to bouzouki and syrtaki and ask all my neighbors over to join the feast of eating and drinking and singing and dancing that Greek food conjures every single blessed day,” said a book review by Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars and winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award and the James Beard Foundation Journalism Award.

Barbara Hansen, longtime food, wine writer (Los Angeles Times) , blogger and cookbook author, Squid Ink freelancer, author Korean Restaurant Guide Los Angeles


1 pound fresh baby potatoes

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, or haricots verts

Juice of 2 lemons

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced (more to taste)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill



In a medium pot over high heat, boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain.

In another medium pot over high heat, blanch the green beans in boiling water for one minute. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, shallot and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

In a large bowl, arrange green beans, potatoes and tomatoes. Add the dressing and dill and toss to coat.  Serve with crusty bread for soaking up the extra dressing, if desired.

Serves 4.

Note from Barbara Hansen: “When I made this recipe, I cooked the green beans a little longer, until crisp-tender. The book follows the Mediterranean diet in using fresh herbs and spices rather than salt to flavor foods; however, I chose to add salt to perk up the vegetables. As I made it, the salad could serve 6.”

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Christina Xenos

A staff member at the Los Angeles Times for many years, Barbara contributed to various publications, including Bon Appetit, Daily Dish, Saveur, LA Weekly and the Cook’s Cook.  She is a James Beard Award winner in the wine and spirits category for an article on mezcal in Oaxaca.  Barbara’s six best-selling books include: Mexican Cookery; Southeast Asian Cooking: Menus and Recipes From Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; Cooking California Style; Good Bread, and a revised edition of the Southeast Asian cookbook with new format and new recipes. By request, she wrote Guidebook to Korean restaurants in Los Angeles.  She is an avid world traveler and considered an authority on Indian and Mexican food.  She has two blogs, and, which are devoted to Mexican food.


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