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Greek Baked Elephant Beans (Gigantes)

This bean dish is very near and dear to my heart… it’s a favorite. It’s so filling and delicious.. and comforting! This is a common Greek side dish and once I was introduced to it, there was really no going back. That said, I will seriously sit down to a bowl of this alone for lunch and be GOOD. Nothing else needed. Overall, this recipe is fairly easy and strait forward, it just takes some time especially if you start out with dried beans. If you want to save time… get the pre-cooked ones in a can and if you can’t find elephant beans, cannellini (white beans) are a good substitute. It’s great if you have fresh tomatoes and they’re in season, but canned will work well too.

Alright, enough small talk… on to the recipe. You have some cooking to do.


vegan // serves 6-8

  • 16 oz. elephant beans (or sub in cannellini beans)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes or 16 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 4+ cups water


  1. If using dry beans, let sit overnight in a pot with water covering (covered). Then once you’re ready to being making the beans the next day, boil beans for 1 hour until you can stick them with a fork. Drain and set aside in a large glass baking dish (9×13) or a cast iron dutch oven as I used – this is the pot you’ll bake them in eventually.
  2. Chop onions and garlic and set aside.
  3. Add oil to a large saute pan and heat on medium for a couple of minutes, then add chopped onion and saute with a wooden spoon for 4 minutes.
  4. Next, add the garlic and salt, pepper for a minute, lower the flame slightly.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 425f degrees. Back on the stovetop, add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chopped carrots, parsley and the bay leaf and continue to saute using the wooden spoon. Break tomato chunks down and stir for 8 minutes or so.
  6. Pour your sauce over the beans in the dish you are baking in, stir around. Next pour water (enough to cover the beans and then some) It took me approx. 4 cups.
  7. Cover the beans with a lid or tin foil and bake for 1 hour. When cooked, you should see a little crust forming around the edges of your dish and the water should be absorbed. Serve!


Hope you enjoy!
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-Alison Marras
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  1. I just started soaking the beans for tomorrow’s dinner! I had a Greek bean dish years ago at a Greek restaurant and have wanted to make them ever since. Thanks for the recipe! I’m using large Lima’s.

  2. I love Gigantes. Was introduced to them in Greece. So simple, but so good. Need to make these again soon.

  3. This dish looks wonderful! I love beans, but have never heard of elephant beans before – I can’t wait to try them out. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thanks so much, Julia!! I highly recommend them if you can find… if not, white beans will work too!

  4. Oh wow, how this looks delicious! Just came across your blog and I simply love it. Looking forward to more recipes 🙂

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