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.