In Greek cuisine it is a common practice to combine beans with other ingredients such as greens, meat, rice and even fish. The famous “gigantes” beans that are usually cooked with tomato cooked and this version is more of a wintery recipe combining these white beans with spinach. The word gigantes means the giant ones, and they are a popular bean here in Greece. Gigantes from several areas of Greece have a Protected Geographical Indication status due to the unique environment that these beans are grown in. If you find them – use them, otherwise you can use butter beans or even smaller white beans.
Obviously this dish is bursting with nutrients; antioxidants, fiber, good fats. But have no fear, as with all Greek dishes, they have made it an art of making vegetables and beans delicious. You may serve this as a side dish or as a sharing appetizer, but the best is to serve it as a main dish. You’ll fulfill a large percentage of your daily requirement in vegetables and beans. For those eating cheese, you can serve it with feta and some bread, otherwise it is equally good without cheese.
Greek Roasted Beans and Spinach- Gigantes me Spanaki
- 1 cup beans gigantes or butter beans
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 spring onions sliced only white
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 250 grams spinach
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped dill
- Lemon for serving
- Soak the beans in water overnight.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Rinse the beans and simmer in water until soft but not falling apart, for about an hour (may take less-check after 30 minutes). Remove from water and rinse.
- In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion and the spring onion for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until it releases its aroma.
- Add the spinach and heat until wilted.
- Mix the spinach mixture with the beans gently. Add the dill and 2 tablespoons olive oil and blend.
- Place into an ovenproof dish, add salt and pepper as needed.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, drizzle with another tablespoon olive oil. You can serve with a squeeze of lemon.
- Can be served warm or at room temperature.
Photo by Elena Paravantes© All Rights Reserved