Meatless Meals — Giant Beans, Greek Style

As we observe the season of Lent, I find myself making many meatless meals.  The following recipe for Giant Beans is a classic in Greek households throughout the year but especially during Lent.  The beans provide protein and bonus! they’re very tasty!  Now, you can purchase tins of these giant beans to use as an appetizer from most Greek grocery stores but the flavor and aroma of this dish cooking is so worth the effort….which by the way is minimal.

To start, you must soak the beans in cool water over night.  So that could be a problem if you forget and want them today and not tomorrow.

There is a method to hurry the process:  sort through the beans removing any foreign objects or split beans, in a large pot cover the beans with cool water, bring to a boil, boil for one minute then remove from the heat, cover and let the beans sit in the hot water for an hour.  This process works but the beans get a little mushy and not quite as pretty for the presentation.  The taste is the same but the look – not so much.  If you are just planning to serve the giant beans as a stew-type meal, then go ahead and use the quick soak method.  If you want to use the beans for an appetizer, it’s best to soak them overnight as they hold together better and give a better looking finished product.

Giant Beans

  • 1 pound large Lima beans
  • Water to cover beans plus 2 inches more
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans diced tomato, do not drain
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. The night before, sort through beans removing any foreign objects or broken beans.
  2. In a large pot, completely cover beans with water to a depth 2 inches above the level of the beans.  The beans will absorb most of this water.
  3. Cover and let the beans soak overnight at room temperature or use quick soak method mentioned above.
  4. Drain the beans changing the water in the pan and gently boil for about 20 minutes or till beans begin to soften.
  5. Drain beans, discard liquid, and spread out beans on flat surface like a cookie sheet to dry while preparing the next two steps.
  6. Saute sliced onion in olive oil till onions are translucent.
  7. Add garlic and continue to saute another 2 minutes or till garlic is translucent.
  8. Add tomato, salt and pepper to onion mixture and bring to boil.
  9. In an oven-proof pot, put beans in the bottom and pour onion tomato mixture over top of beans.
  10. Cover and bake at 350F for 60 to 90 minutes or till beans are tender but not falling apart.


I like to serve these beans with a crispy salad and little corn muffins.  Delicious!  We often serve these beans as part of an appetizer course or mezedes.  My grandson likes these beans because they can be eaten with a toothpick….he says it’s more fun that way.


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