Lubia is a Lebanese dish made of green beans in tomato sauce. It’s a very simple yet delicious and nutritious one-pot recipe that makes the perfect comfort food during any season.
Let me show you how to prepare Lubia the Lebanese way.
What is Lubia?
Lubia, also known as Loubia or Lubya, is a Middle Eastern bean stew. In Lebanon and neighboring Levantine countries, Lubia traditionally consists of green beans in tomato sauce. It’s commonly served with rice as a side.
The green beans are initially sautéed in olive oil which makes them release their full flavor. That’s the reason Lubia is also known as Lubia bil Zeit (trans. Lubia with oil) in Arabic.
In addition to the Lebanese version, there are several other ways to make Lubia. In fact, every region has their own variety and the further you travel, the more different it gets. In some regions, Lubia is made with rice and meat (in one pot instead of having rice as a side) or kidney or white beans instead of green beans.
I’m going to show you how to make Lebanese Lubia, which is by far the most popular variant in the Levant. Lebanese Lubia is vegan, light and healthy.
- Green beans: There are various types of green beans available year-round. For Lebanese Lubia, Romano green beans (long flat green beans, also known as Italian green beans) are the most commonly used. However, you can also use French green beans (Haricots verts), long beans, string beans or even snap peas (sugar snaps).
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the basis for this dish. They make the sauce in which your beans will cook. The tomato sauce greatly adds to the flavor of the beans. Besides, it will also be mixed with the rice (served as a side dish). You can use either fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes take longer to prepare (you need to peel and purée them). I usually go for canned diced tomatoes which make this recipe a little faster and easier. Canned tomatoes can be found at any grocery store. They are affordable, ready-to-use and usually don’t contain any unwanted ingredients.
- Tomato paste: While tomatoes are enough to make the sauce, I recommend that you add a bit of tomato paste to intensify the color and the flavor.
- Onions: Onions are the foundation of most Middle Eastern stews. Yellow onions are the preferred choice.
- Garlic: Garlic cloves will be crushed and added to the tomato base. The garlic adds to the flavor of the dish.
- Seasonings: Seasonings round off the taste. You’ll need ground coriander as well as a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. You can optionally add tumeric (for the color) or chili powder (for some spice) but these aren’t part of the authentic recipe.
- Olive oil: Last but not least, you need a quality olive oil. The onions and beans are initially sautéed in the oil which greatly adds to the flavor of this dish. The dish partly owes its name to the olive oil.
- Water: Depending on your liking, you need to add more or less water to your saucepan. More water means a thinner consistency, less water means a thicker sauce.
Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.
How to Make Lubia
Ready to make Lubia? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Prepare the beans
Wash the beans before you start. Trim off the ends of the beans and dispose of them. Chop the beans into small pieces. They can be bite-size or a bit longer than that, about 3-4 cm (1-1.5 in) is a good indication. To speed up the process, you can chop 3-4 beans at a time (grab beans that have about the same length). Set aside the chopped beans.
Step 2: Prepare garlic and onion
Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Peel and roughly chop the onion.
Step 3: Fry garlic and onion
Heat olive oil in a saucepan or large frying pan (medium to high heat). Once the oil is heated, add the crushed garlic and chopped onion to the oil. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the onion has become translucent.
Step 4: Add beans and seasonings
Add the chopped green beans and seasonings (salt, pepper and coriander powder) to the saucepan. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
Step 5: Sauté
Reduce your stove to medium heat. Sauté the beans-onion mixture for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t add any water or tomatoes yet! During this time, the beans will become slightly tender, but not fully cooked.
Step 6: Add tomatoes and water
Add the canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the saucepan. Stir to combine. As mentioned, you can best use canned diced tomatoes (the most convenient option). If using fresh tomatoes, peel and purée them before you add them to the beans. The amount of water is a preference, but you need to make sure that the beans are fully covered in liquids at this point (add the canned tomatoes first to get an idea of how much water you want to add).
Step 7: Boil
Increase the high to high again to bring the liquids to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes (longer cooking time means more tender beans). While the beans are boiling, you have enough time to prepare butter rice which makes a great side dish to Lubia.
What to Serve with Lubia
Lubia is the perfect comfort food for busy weekdays. It’s most commonly served with rice, preferably Lebanese butter rice. You can also serve it with bread if you prefer.
Make Ahead & Storage
Lubia can be perfectly made ahead of time. If you have a large saucepan, you can easily fit 1.5 kgs (3.5 lbs) of beans to serve over several days.
Have leftovers? Let cool completely after cooking (lid closed). Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Learn Middle Eastern Cooking
Are you a new to Middle Eastern cuisine? Then this Middle Eastern cookbook is what you need! In addition to a varied choice of recipes, the cookbook offers plenty of insights on ingredients, cooking techniques and Middle Eastern food culture.
Lebanese Lubia bil Zeit
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) Romano green beans Italian green beans
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 onions yellow, medium
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 150 ml (3/4 cups) water
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by preparing the beans: Trim off the ends and dispose of them. Chop the beans into small pieces, 3-4 cm (1-1.5 in) in length. Set aside.
- Crush the garlic cloves and roughly chop the onion.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan or frying pan over medium to high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the crushed garlic and onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the green beans to the saucepan. Season with salt, pepper and coriander powder. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
- Reduce your heat to medium. Sauté for another 8-10 minutes. Don’t add any tomatoes or water yet! Stir occasionally.
- The beans should now be slightly tender, but not fully cooked yet. Add the canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Stir well to combine.
- Bring to a rolling boil (on high). Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (40 minutes if you prefer more tender beans).
- Serve with butter rice, plain rice or bread.
- Lubia with meat? While the original recipe is vegetarian, you can totally add some meat to your stew. The best option is ground beef. Add it to your saucepan at step 3 and sauté it together with the beans. You might want to add some more spices when adding meat. Ground meat naturally releases some water and fat, so you don’t have to add any more water than you’d do for the vegetarian version.
- Butter rice makes the perfect side dish. You can cook the rice while your Lubia simmers.
- Type of beans: Romano green beans (also known as Italian green beans) are most commonly used. They are long flat beans that you can find year-round. However, you can also use a different type of bean, such as French green beans (known as Haricots verts), long beans or string beans. Even snap peas (sugar snaps) work well.
- Fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes? Using canned diced tomatoes makes this recipe particularly quick and easy. Canned tomatoes are very affordable and usually don’t contain any unwanted ingredients. If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to peel and purée them before (then proceed as per the recipe). For a small can of canned diced tomatoes, you’ll need about 5-7 fresh tomatoes (medium size).
Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.