Gigantes braised with tomato

Gigantes braised with tomato

Gígantes vrasména may tomátes

Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece
Chris Chen

These were served to us by Thomas ‘Please’ our wonderful waiter at Plaka, near Leonidio. Greek gigantes are large round beans similar to butter beans, but larger and sweeter in flavour. Salt the beans after cooking rather than before, as this ensures the beans remain tender.


Quantity Ingredient
500g dried lima beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
800g diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons rigani
1 teaspoon sugar
2 litres warm water, (see Lyndey’s note)
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, to serve
loukaniko or chorizo, (optional)
grilled greek pita bread, to serve


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Soak the beans overnight, then rinse well.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, rigani, sugar, drained beans and 1.5 litres of the warm water.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for up to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender, adding the remaining warm water as needed to keep the beans just covered. Check the beans throughout the cooking time as they should be tender but still hold their shape, not get to the stage where they disintegrate.
  4. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently stir through the parsley leaves to serve.
  5. If you like, pan-fry slices of the sausage and crumble over or stir through the gigantes. Serve with grilled pita bread.

Lyndey’s note

  • Adding warm water rather than cold helps to make the beans creamy.
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