Hey, cool beans!
I fell in love with gigante beans way back when I worked at a local Italian Market right after college. We would get these huge cans that were imported from Italy and beautifully marinated in garlic, olive oil, herbs and vinegar. I'd never heard of gigante beans before, but after one taste I was hooked on these oversized, incredibly creamy legumes.
But when I went looking for gigante beans in the market, I could never find them. I wondered if they only grew outside of the United States? Even in specialty food stores and Italian markets I struggled to find a fresh, dried or canned version of the bean to use in my own cooking.
That was until I realized they go by a few different names in America, and they've been hiding right under my nose this whole time.
Turns out, gigante beans are widely available in America and you can find them in just about any supermarket. Except they're sold under the name "giant lima beans" or "butter beans," the latter being especially common in the south, which makes perfect sense considering their rich, buttery texture.
So I bought me a bag of Goya brand giant lima beans and put them to work. First, a long soak overnight to rehydrate, then over to the stove to simmer with a few aromatics until tender, and then marinated with lots of zippy Spanish flavors. Garlic! Smoked paprika! Sherry Vinegar! Olé!
This salad is lovely served warm, but it's also wonderful after it's had a chance to marinate for a few days in the fridge. This is a budget-friendly recipe made with easy to find pantry ingredients, and it's perfect to keep on hand to munch on during busy days. This vegan-friendly dish is loaded with fiber and protein to keep you full and energized, plus it's packed with plenty of flavor to satisfy even the craziest of carnivores.
It's rich, smoky and vinegary. Creamy, crunchy and addictive. It's got YOU and YUM written all over it. Can ya dig?
Spanish Gigante Bean Salad
This salad is lovely served warm, but it's also wonderful after it's had a chance to marinate for a few days in the fridge. This is a budget-friendly recipe made with easy to find pantry ingredients, and it's perfect to keep on hand to munch on during busy days.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Spanish
- ½ lb dried gigante beans, butter beans, or giant lima beans, soaked overnight in salted water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, divided, 2 smashed and 2 sliced
- 2 medium shallots, divided, one left whole and one minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced plus 2 tablespoons celery leaves
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Drain the soaked beans and place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add the bay leaf, thyme, whole shallot, smashed cloves of garlic, and a generous amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook until the beans are just tender, about 30-45 minutes. Be sure to test more than one bean to be sure they are all cooked through. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and saute the minced garlic and shallot until they just start to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and smoked paprika and cook for another minute or two until fragrant. Add the beans, celery, vinegar and remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil, then turn off the heat. Stir until everything is coated and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, or let marinate in the fridge for a few days.
- This dish is great served as a salad or side dish, but also works fabulously as an appetizer served with crusty slices of bread.
- To speed things up a bit, you can use 2 cans of beans in place of the dried beans and omit the step of cooking them. Just be sure to thoroughly drain and rinse the beans before using.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 463
- Sugar: 7.2 g
- Sodium: 70.6 mg
- Fat: 28.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 42.3 g
- Protein: 13.6 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: butter bean salad, gigante beans, vegan bean salad
I love gigante beans too!!! They're found in a lot of the octopus dishes I see on restaurant menus (and if there's octopus, I order it) I've never made them myself though, definitely saving this recipe!!
You totally have to make this!! It's super easy and soo good!
I had SOOOO many BIG limas in our garden last years and the only thing I knew how to do (storage-wise) was to make and can three bean salad. Now I have a wonderful new recipe for the big beans! Thanks, Coley! For your readers who garden... you can actually dry the beans on the vine and in their pods. When they rattle around in the dry pods, check one by pressing your fingernail on a bean. If there's no indent, they're ready to be put in a 130 degree oven for 30 min. (to kill anything that might be lurking in there) and then put in jars or bags. Looking forward to using this recipe with our crop this year!
Oh nice! I'd love to grow some of my own. Where do you get your seeds? Do you save them from the year before?
Yes, we save them from the year before and we also found a wonderful heirloom seed company called heirloomsolutions.com Pay $2 for a catalog, set up an account and get $20 worth of seeds. The packets ($5 each) are really large and made of mylar so you can keep the extras for future years. Martin's REALLY happy with the company (and what you may not know is he's not the easiest person to please... I say this with love, of course!). 😉
Thanks for sharing such a delicious sounding recipe. I can't wait to try it! Also it was great to meet you at Ashley and Todd's amazing wedding. I don't think I ever saw so much food at an affair in my life. And I have been to many and catered even more!! I hope to see you again in the near future, perhaps with the new Mr. and Mrs. My husband and I plan on being at the shore near the end of August.
Sandra, it was SO nice to finally meet you as well!! What a beautiful wedding!! Please be in touch when you are down! 🙂
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Thank you for this! I just made it to serve with an antipasto platter for houseguests that arrive tomorrow. I doubled the recipe and its SO DELICIOUS I hope my husband and I don't eat it all before tomorrow! One question: I used "large lima beans" and wasn't prepared for all the skins to slip off in cooking - took me a while to separate them from the beans before mixing everything together. Do you have any tips for easily dealing with this next time I make it? Thanks!
Thanks, Melanie! I'm so glad you liked the dish, it's one of my favorite recipes. As for the skins slipping off during cooking... hmm. I had it happen with a few of mine, but not all of them like you mentioned. Beans can be funny, though. Perhaps soaking them in salted water prior to cooking would help the problem some. It's at least worth trying! Check out this link:http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34898/cooking-beans-with-intact-skins
Can these gigantes beans be cooked in a stove top Pressure Cooker?
What would the time be?
Absolutely. As for time, I'm not entirely sure, you may have to do some research. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pressure-cooker-gigante-beans-tomato-sauce This recipe says 50 minutes but that seems a bit long to me. Might take some trial and error. Best of luck!
This recipe calls for *8 Tbsps of Olive oil divide but the method only uses 3 T what happened to the other 5 T? Do you pour it on after cooking ? Confused.
My apologies. The remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil are to be added along with the beans, celery and vinegar. I will note that in the recipe now.
I was looking for a recipe for this after having them at Italian delis and markets. I got a bag of "Gigante beans" at a local farmers' market. This is delicious and. simple, with mainly basic ingredients. I had these warm with crusty bread for dinner and am looking forward to eating the rest marinated. I like Melanie's idea of serving this with antipasto. Thanks for the recipe!