Greek Gigantes

Discover the wonders of Greek Gigantes – giant beans that transform into a culinary delight! Slow cooked in a luscious tomato sauce, these creamy, tender beans pair perfectly with toasted crusty bread. Definitely, a sumptuous vegetarian feast!

Individual bowl of gigante beans.

How fun are these Gigante beans! I’m obsessed with these large white beans. I remember eating these big beans on my trip to Athens, but I didn’t know the name and it took me a few years to remember them and look them up.

Okay, so about the Greek Gigantes, otherwise known as “Gigantes Plaki”, it’s a popular Mediterranean dish. The giant beans are a type of large white bean that is both huge in size and huge in flavor. You can find them on Amazon or substitute Lima beans.

I’m super lazy about beans, so I decided to make this a slow-cooker recipe. Just throw everything in, turn it on, and walk away. It’s so easy!

This is an intensely comforting and satisfying dish. You can serve it as a stew-like main course, as a side dish, or even as part of a spread of small plates or appetizers. Check out my collection of Greek recipes if you need some pairing ideas.

Reasons to Love These Beans

  • Greek Gigantes has a rich flavor and offers a delectable taste. It has a creamy texture that blends seamlessly into a hearty, aromatic tomato sauce.
  • Greek Gigantes is a versatile meal. You can eat it as a main dish, side, or appetizer, fitting various meal settings and preferences.
  • These beans are high in nutritional value. Packed with protein and fiber, it’s a plant-based option for a healthier choice.
  • Their warm, stew-like quality provides a comforting and satisfying eating experience that is perfect for cozy meals.
  • Eating Greek Gigantes is like a culinary experience in Greece. It also offers an authentic taste of Mediterranean cuisine.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Greek Gigantes.
  • Dry Gigantes Beans: These large white beans are essential for their unique size and creamy texture.
  • Yellow Onions: They add a foundational flavor that is essential for building the dish’s savory profile.
  • Garlic: This adds a pungent, aromatic depth to the dish, enhancing its overall taste.
  • Diced Tomatoes: They provide the rich, tangy base of the sauce.
  • Vegetarian Chicken Broth or Water: This liquid is crucial for cooking the beans and creating a flavorful sauce.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Beans Substitute: Replace Gigantes beans with cannellini beans to achieve a similar creamy texture and mild flavor. If cannellini beans are unavailable, you can also use large lima beans or elephant beans as substitutes.
  • Fresh Tomatoes: Use fresh, ripe tomatoes instead of canned, chopped, and simmered, for a fresher, more garden-like flavor.
  • Fresh Herbs Addition: Enhance the dish by adding fresh herbs like fresh parsley or dill. These herbs bring a vibrant, fresh flavor and add a beautiful green contrast to the creamy beans.
  • Shallots for Onions: Substitute yellow onions with shallots for a slightly sweeter, more refined taste.
  • Roasted Garlic: Use roasted garlic instead of raw for a milder, sweeter garlic flavor that blends seamlessly into the dish.

How to Make Greek Gigantes

Step #1: Soak the beans overnight. (If you forget this step, see my tips below on how to work around that).

Beans soaking in water in a bowl.

Step #2: Next, drain the beans and place all the ingredients in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

Ingredients for Greek gigantes in a slow cooker.

Step #3: Finally, serve with toasted crusty bread. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I also love serving these beans by placing a slice of toasted crusty bread in the bottom of a bowl and then ladling the beans and sauce on top. Alternatively, have a bowl of beans and spoon some on top of toasted bread to add a little crunch!

Greek Gigantes beans in an individual bowl with toast on the side.

Expert Tips

  • Proper Soaking: Soak beans overnight to ensure they cook evenly and become perfectly tender. If you forget to soak your beans overnight, extending the cooking time by an extra hour on high or two hours on low can help.
  • Slow Cooking: Cook on low heat for a longer duration. This allows flavors to meld and beans to cook without becoming mushy.
  • Seasoning Balance: Be careful with salt. Start with less and adjust later, as beans can absorb salt differently.
  • Check Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth or water. If it is too thin, let it cook longer.
  • Taste Testing: Regularly taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. The flavors should be robust and well-balanced.
Bowls of Greek beans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Greek Gigantes in a pressure cooker?

Yes, you can use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time while still achieving tender beans.

How do I know when the beans are perfectly cooked?

The beans should be tender but not mushy, usually achieved in the suggested cooking time.

Is it necessary to use a slow cooker for this recipe?

A slow cooker is recommended for ease and flavor development, but a stovetop works too.

Can I use canned beans instead of dry beans?

Yes, though the texture may differ slightly, canned beans can be a time-saving option.

How can I make this dish creamier?

Cook the beans a bit longer, and they will release starches that naturally thicken and cream the sauce.

Storage Info

Greek Gigantes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They freeze well too; place them in a freezer-safe container, and they will keep for about 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge if frozen and then warm in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, add a little water or broth if needed to maintain consistency. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming.

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Greek gigante beans in a bowl.

Greek Gigantes Recipe

Discover the wonders of Greek Gigantes – giant beans that transform into a culinary delight! Slow cooked in a luscious tomato sauce, these creamy, tender beans pair perfectly with toasted crusty bread. Definitely, a sumptuous vegetarian feast!
4.4 from 529 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Greek
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 342kcal
Author: Linda
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry gigantes beans - soaked overnight
  • 2 medium yellow onions - peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - peeled and smashed
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetarian chicken broth - or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Crusty bread - black pepper, and more olive oil for serving
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Instructions

  • Soak the beans overnight. (If you forget this step, see my tips below on how to work around that).
  • Next, drain the beans and place all the ingredients in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
  • Finally, serve with toasted crusty bread. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I also love serving these beans by placing a slice of toasted crusty bread in the bottom of a bowl and then ladling the beans and sauce on top. Alternatively, have a bowl of beans and spoon some on top of toasted bread to add a little crunch!

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
Greek Gigantes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They freeze well too; place them in a freezer-safe container, and they will keep for about 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge if frozen and then warm in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, add a little water or broth if needed to maintain consistency. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 912mg | Potassium: 1683mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 364IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 244mg | Iron: 10mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

    1. Hi Zoe, you can put them in halfway though the cooking process and put them on top, this should keep them from getting mushy.