Gigantes (Greek Giant Beans)

gigantes greek giant beans

Recipes | September 10, 2018 | By

Gigantes — Your New Favorite Bean

Gigantes are gaining popularity in the U.S., but always transport me back to seaside restaurants on the shores of the Aegean Sea. Gigante beans are large white beans native to Greece and the Mediterranean, similar to Large Lima Beans or Corona Beans. I love them for their texture: firm on the outside yet oh so creamy when you bite into them. When you soften them and stew them in this zesty tomato sauce they become extremely flavorful and satisfying, yet they maintain their structure and don’t run the risk of disintegrating into a sloppy mess. These saucy, tender beans are the perfect addition to any mezze collection, and make a delicious main course as well. Make them as part of your dinner party spread, or as an easy weeknight meal. They can stand alone, or you can easily pair them with everything from chicken and shrimp to grilled octopus. 

Where to find Gigantes

Gigantes are still a little esoteric in grocery stores around the U.S. (although you can buy them already cooked in a can at Trader Joe’s). You can buy good quality ones on Amazon. Start by trying these Gigante beans from Olive Nation, or these Large Lima Beans, or these Corona Beans from Rancho Gordo

About this Gigantes recipe

One of my favorite additions to Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook, this Gigantes recipe is technically a Greek version of baked beans. But it’s not what you’re thinking. Instead of bacon and brown sugar, you will create a rich tomato sauce full of spices to flavor the dish. Don’t let the prep time deter you. It’s something you can manage a few days ahead; keep the rehydrated beans in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them in the sauce. Or you can play around with your pressure cooker or shiny new Instapot to cook them at high pressure in about an hour.


Gigantes (Greek Giant Beans)

Category: Appetizer, Entree

Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean

Servings: 4 to 6


Gigantes are technically the Greek version of baked beans (similar dishes found in Turkey and the Middle East), but instead of bacon and brown sugar, you use a rich tomato sauce and spices to flavor the dish. Don’t let the prep time deter you. It’s something you can manage a few days ahead; keep the rehydrated beans in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them in the sauce.


  • 1 ½ cups dried gigantes or large lima beans
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • for garnishing (optional)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnishing (optional)


  1. In a large bowl or pot, combine the beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak the beans in the water overnight.
  2. Drain, rinse, and place the beans in a large soup pot. Cover the beans with fresh water, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Check the beans after 45 minutes. If they are still hard and mealy, add the baking soda to the water. Continue to cook until the beans are soft. Drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.
  5. Add the onion and salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  6. Add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  7. Add the oregano, celery, and carrot. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more.
  8. Stir in the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Transfer the beans and the sauce to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Garnish with the parsley and olive oil (if using), and serve.


If you want a thicker sauce, process ¼ to ½ cup of the beans through a food mill (or mash them) and mix into the pan before baking.

You can also adjust the recipe to cook more quickly in your pressure cooker.


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