Gigantes, or "giant beans," are large white beans similar to large limas, which are a good substitute. In this recipe, the beans are cooked Greek-style in a flavorful tomato sauce with vegetables and finished with tangy feta cheese. Serve the beans as they are or use them as a topping for cooked pasta.

Serves 8


  • 1 pound dried gigantes or large lima beans, rinsed, drained, and picked over
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Place the beans in a large bowl with cold water to cover by several inches. Let stand at room temperature for 6 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add the water, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, oregano, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Pour it into a large slow cooker.

Drain the beans and place them in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beans are very tender. Taste for seasonings.

Just before serving, discard the bay leaf. If there is too much liquid, mash some of the beans into the sauce. Stir in the cheese. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.

Excerpted from The Mediterranean Slow Cooker, © 2013 by Michele Scicolone. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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