Zeytinyağlı Barbunya

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Zeytinyağlı Barbunya is one of the classic olive oil dishes of Turkish cuisine. It may call Olive Oil Shell Beans in English. It is a favorite meze of most restaurants in Turkey and no one can resist. You can choose as a starter or a main dish if you are on a diet. But I strongly recommend you eat this delicious dish as a meze.

The Story of Zeytinyağlı Barbunya

Zeytinyağlı Barbunya was also very popular during the Ottoman Empire period too. When I speak with one of the Ottoman period historians in Istanbul about the story of this dish, I found very interesting information about the Zeytinyağlı Barbunya dish.

First of all, it wasn’t that easy to source continuous olive oil supply at Ottoman Empire borders at that time. The merchants were bringing olive oils from Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries to the Ottoman ports and selling them to the wholesalers at the ports. The Palace chefs were visiting the ports weekly basis to source the best-flavored olive oils to please their Sultans and Palace people. The historian told me that at that time it was so difficult to find the same quality olive oils.

One day, II. Murad (Ottoman Sultan) calls the palace head chef and asks him why the taste of the Zeytinyağlı Barbunya is different than the previous one. The chef tells him that supplying olive oil is getting harder every day and he used different types of olive oil than the previous one and reduced the amount of olive oil density in the dish. Then the Sultan calls his men and gives orders to go and find the best olive oil trees around Ottoman borders and seed them to Balıkesir city. The historian told me this fantastic story about this dish.

What type of olive oil I should use?

So if you are going to cook this dish, I strongly recommend you to cook it with extra virgin olive oil because it gives a better flavor than regular olive oil.

Zeytin Yağlı Barbunya

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 155 kcal


  • 1 kg shell beans
  • 50 ml olive oil extra virgin
  • 1.2 L water
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 potato diced
  • 1 onions sliced
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 2 Tomatoes grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar


  1. Peel off the shell beans from their shell. Wash them and then put the beans to the saucepan. Then add water until it covers the beans top surface level. Boil it about 10 minutes at medium heat. Then filter the water with strainer from saucepan and put the beans aside.

  2. Put olive oil and sliced onions to the saucepan. Saute it until onions get softy. Then add the tomato paste, grated tomatoes, diced carrots, potatoes, garlic and saute them.

  3. Put the beans back to the saucepan and add the salt and sugar.  Then add 6 cup of water to the saucepan and saute all 10 seconds. Close the saucepan lid and let them to cook at low-medium level heat.

  4. After it cooked, let it cool down and serve it cold.

Recipe Notes

Tip: Garnish it with parsley before serving.

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