When it comes to eating clean, this dish is one of my favorites. Giant beans or Gigantes in Greek. Baked together with a mix of healthy greens and herbs, olive oil, and lemon.
So if you were looking for a healthy, light, nutritious, and equally tasty dish here it is!
But what are Giant beans?
Giant beans or Gigantes beans as they're called in Greece, are big butter beans almost identical to large lima beans. They're very tender and meaty. You can see my other recipe for Greek Butter Beans In Tomato Sauce here.
If you buy a good label they may even take less time to cook than plain white beans. But then again that always depends on the quality you're buying.
How To Cook Giant Beans
Giant beans do require some overnight soaking in water before getting cooked. And then you can cook them on the stovetop in a cooking pot, or you may even use a pressure cooker. If the beans have doubled in size after the water soaking, then about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half would be more than enough for them to cook on the stovetop. Or about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker.
On the other hand, if the beans seem to remain about the same size after soaking them, then that means they're not of the best quality and may take up to a couple of hours to cook properly.
This is the label I use: Greek Gigantes 3 Alpha, and always gives out great results.
To make these Baked Giant Beans, you first cook the beans in plenty of water on their own until they get really tender. Then sautee the various greens together with some onion, leek, garlic, spring onions, and olive oil until they soften a bit. And then simply spread the greens in a baking dish and cover them with the cooked giant beans on top. Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven and you are ready to serve along with a drizzle of raw olive oil and fresh lemon on top!
Which Types Of Greens To Use In This Baked Giant Beans Recipe
There are many types of greens you can use to make this dish. Like spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, curly endives, dandelion greens. Ideally, use a mixture of greens instead of just one type. As the dish will be much more flavorful this way.
TIP: Don't use a baking dish that's wider than the one this recipe calls for (9x13-inch (23 x 33 cm). As we want the greens to be covered by the beans in order to avoid getting them overcooked.
Baked Giant Beans With Greens & Lemon
- 200 grams (7 oz) butter beans soaked in water overnight
- 6 tablespoons olive oil + a little bit extra to drizzle on top
- ½ medium-sized red onion minced
- 1 small stick of leek minced
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 small spring onions finely chopped
- 1 small stick of celery (without its leaves) finely chopped
- 280 grams (9.8 oz) various mixed greens such as: spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, curly endives, dandelion greens chopped
- a handful fresh chervil (use parsley or mustard greens instead) chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
- ½ lemon juiced
- Half fill a cooking pot with water and add the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes then drain beans in a strainer and rinse to remove any foamy residue.
- Transfer beans back to the pot. Half fill with some fresh water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil again. Then drop the heat to medium and cook partly covered until beans get soft and tender. It takes about an hour on the stovetop. Alternatively, you may cook the beans in a pressure cooker for about 20-25 minutes.
- Once the beans are nice and tender turn the heat off and set the pot aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 392°F.
- In another cooking pot heat the 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the red onion and leek and cook until slightly softened.
- Then add the garlic, spring onions, and celery. Cook for 1-2 minutes more for those to soften as well.
- Add the mixed greens in batches into the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the greens just until they soften slightly. Then turn the heat off and transfer the greens to a 9x13-inch (23 x 33cm) baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped chervil and dill on top.
- Using a slotted spoon transfer the cooked beans from the cooking pot to the baking dish (Don't throw away the cooking water). Spreading them evenly over the greens.
- Add ½ cup of the water that you cooked the beans in, into the baking dish. Then drizzle with olive oil on top and lemon juice. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Bake for about 30 minutes just until the beans start to get some color on top.
- Serve with a good drizzle or raw olive and fresh lemon juice on top and enjoy!
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