I make these Greek-inspired gigantes all the time, and honestly thought I’d already written about them on my blog. It was only when I said I’d send the recipe to a friend that I realised I hadn’t. So for her, and anyone else interested, here you go!
Gigantes is a traditional Greek dish, meaning giant beans, often enjoyed as part of a mezze-style feast. However, at this time of year, I love it as an evening meal, often topped with crumbled feta. Most recipes require dried beans to be soaked in water overnight and then cooked for an hour or so. However, with three kids and two jobs, I like to make life easier for myself, so I usually buy tinned beans. I also use butter beans, rather than gigantes, as I’ve so far not found gigantes anywhere.
My recipe is influenced by Rick Stein. He featured gigantes on his television show From Venice to Istanbul. I didn’t watch the series myself, but one of my friends saw it and messaged it to me with the recipe because, having seen so many of my other recipes, she thought I’d love it. She was right; I do. It’s such a beautiful combination of flavours, and is super healthy too, packed full of protein, iron and vitamin C and low in fat too.
Cardiff Daddy says it’s one of his favourite vegetarian dishes (I’m veggie, but he’s most definitely not). Toddler loves them, and my eldest two usually pull a face when they see it, but then eat it anyway.
Here’s how to make it:
Ingredients – serves 2
2 x 400g cans of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
6 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
500g fresh spinach, washed
20g fresh parsley, chopped
20g fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Handful of crumbled feta (optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3.
- Heat 2tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan or wok, add the onion and garlic and cook on a low heat until soft.
- Stir in the paprika, cinnamon, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, 100ml/3fl oz cold water, salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and then cook on a low heat for 35 minutes.
- Add in the beans, the spinach, parsley, mint and oregano, and 2bsp olive oil. Cook on a low heat until the spinach has wilted.
- Transfer the beans to a large oven-proof dish and drizzle with the remaining 2tbsp olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the beans are tender and the sauce is bubbling.
- You can either serve immediately, as it is or topped with crumbled feta. Or allow to cool to room temperature and serve as part of a mezze-style meal. It’s also great cold for lunch the next day, or warmed up in a pan, with a splash of water if it’s looking a little dry.