What Are Gigante Beans? This Giant Greek Staple Is About to Become Your New Favorite

Every country has a different way of enjoying beans. In the UK, baked beans (usually haricot) on toast is a staple meal, while in the US, beans are usually served as a side dish for barbecues or Mexican-inspired meals. Bean stews are popular in many countries—red red, for example, is a Ghanaian bean stew made with black-eyed peas. But in Greece, it’s all about gigantes plaki. In Greece, giant baked beans, also known as gigante beans, are mixed with spices, herbs, olive oil, and tomato sauce to make the traditional dish, which is often served as part of a meze. But there are many other ways to enjoy these delicious, large, and ultra-creamy beans. In fact, they can be swapped into most bean recipes—find some of our favorites below!

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What are gigante beans?

Gigante beans are essentially large lima beans (also known as butter beans), but they are a little different from the varieties you’d find on the shelves in the US. And that’s because they are grown in Greece, in the northwest of the country in regions like Prespes. They are large, flat, and incredibly creamy, with a mild, nutty flavor. While they are traditionally used in gigantes plaki, they can be added to many different casseroles, stews, and salads, too.

Vegan Cocotte

Are gigante beans healthy?

According to Odysea, a supplier of top-quality Greek produce to the UK, are low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, iron, vitamin B1, and magnesium.

Multiple experts have confirmed the health benefits of beans in general. They are a common dietary staple in the Blue Zones, for example, which are five areas of the world where people consistently live long, healthy lives.

“Beans are an amazing food and they are closely related to longevity in those who eat them regularly,” Anna Herby, DHSc, RD, CDE Nutrition Education Specialist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), told VegNews last year. “They provide all kinds of benefits, from better blood sugar control, lowering cholesterol levels, to improving gut bacteria balance.”

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How to use gigante beans: 7 recipes to try

It is possible to buy gigante beans in the US. For example, Greek brand Arosis sells its giant beans, which are harvested from small family farms in Kastoria, Greece, on Amazon. Divina Market, a Mediterranean food supplier, also offers its giant white beans on the e-commerce site.

But once you’ve got your gigante beans, what do you cook with them? Of course, you can make gigantes plaki (and you can find a delicious vegan recipe from Vegan Cocotte here or from Lazy Cat Kitchen here). But you could also add them to pastas, broths, and so much more. Check out some of our go-to bean recipes below.

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1 Vegan Angel Hair Pasta 

This vegan angel hair pasta recipe with lemon, kale, and feta calls for cannellini beans (another popular type of white bean), but it would also work beautifully with gigante beans, thanks to their creamy, mild flavor and hearty texture.
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VegNews.BrothyBeans1Bri Beaudoin

2 Vegan Shortcut Brothy Beans

If you want something quick, easy, and nourishing, check out this delicious recipe for a hearty bean broth. Gigante beans, which can easily be swapped in, will taste delicious alongside fresh thyme, garlic, and leafy greens. Make sure to serve with grilled crusty bread for maximum enjoyment.
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3 Vegan Beans Marbella With Salty Roasted Potatoes

Marbella is usually cooked with chicken, but this popular Spanish dish is arguably even more delicious (and nutritious) when made with beans instead. This dish—which is at its best when served with salty roasted potatoes and an extra drizzle of olive oil—is rich, aromatic, and packed with flavor.
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4 Tuscan Red Pepper & White Bean Soup With Crispy Fried White Beans

This simple Italian soup is bursting with flavor, thanks to the mix of red bell peppers, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar. Instead of croutons, crispy fried white beans make the perfect topping. The recipe calls for cannellini beans, but gigante beans will work just as well.
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5 Vegan Easy Garlic Herbed Three Bean Dip

One of the best things about gigante beans is their creaminess, so we have no doubt that they will taste delicious in this ultra-velvety bean dip. You can enjoy the dip on its own, but it’s arguably at its best when combined with herb-roasted tomatoes and peppers.
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VegNews.GarlickyButterBeanSoupwithGreens Oliver Barth

6 Vegan Garlicky Butter Bean Soup With Greens

If you’re feeling under the weather, this vegan garlicky bean soup, which is served with plenty of nutrient-dense leafy greens, is guaranteed to give you a much-needed pick-me-up. Serve with hemp seeds for extra texture and protein.
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7 Vegan Warm Butter Bean Salad

This warm salad was created specifically with large beans in mind, so gigantes beans will make the perfect addition. Served with roasted bell peppers and pili pili oil, the flavor-packed dish is set to become one of your new favorite winter meals.
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For more bean recipes, read:

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