Try our gigantes with spinach and chard, then check out our gigantes plaki, beef stifado and more Greek recipes.

This gigantes recipe comes from Carolina's Doriti's book Salt of the Earth (£26, Quadrille).

Carolina says: "Gigantes (giants) or elefantes (elephants) are butter beans, popular in Greece and mostly grown in the north-west – famously in the stunning lake regions of Prespes and Kastoria."


  • 250g dried butter beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250ml olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 200g fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • 500g spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 200g Swiss chard, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley


  • STEP 1

    Soak the beans overnight in water. Drain and put in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, drain and cover again with fresh water. Return to the heat, add a little salt and the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 40 mins-1 hr or until the beans are tender. Drain, reserving 160ml of the cooking water.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, leek and fennel, season, then stir in the coriander. Cook, stirring, until everything begins to soften, then add the garlic and spring onions, and stir for another minute. Mix in the spinach and chard in batches until wilted. Season and spoon the mixture into a deep baking dish. Season the beans and arrange them on top of the greens. Pour in the reserved cooking water and 80ml of the olive oil, cover and bake for 20-30 mins or until the sauce has thickened. Uncover, mix in the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice and herbs, then return to the oven, uncovered, for a further 15 mins or until almost caramelised. Remove from the oven, cover and rest for 15 mins before serving.

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