• Traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot, gigantes (bean soup) was a favourite dish in the Mittas family. (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

Gigantes plaki, or "giant beans", are traditionally served as part of a mezze, and this easy recipe can also satisfy as a stand-alone main. Traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot, this recipe uses petimezi to lend a gentle sweetness to the dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (31 votes)


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 200 g smoked sausage, such as chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 125 g smoked speck, cubed
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthways, chopped
  • 250 g lima beans, soaked in water overnight, drained
  • 650 g tomato, grated to extract the flesh and juice, skin discarded
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) petimezi (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time 8 hours

The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Place the lima beans in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the sausage and speck and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until golden. Remove the sausage and speck and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil, onion and garlic, and cook until the onion softens. Add the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes before returning the sausage and speck to the pan. Add the drained beans and mix through. Add the grated tomato, petimezi, mustard and the bay leaves. Season to taste and mix to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 1.5 litre deep baking dish or youvetsi (earthenware casserole pot). Cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Remove from the oven, scatter with parsley and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve warm.

©2012 Maria Benardis


• Petimezi is thick, non-fermented grape juice, also known as grape must or grape molasses, and is available from specialty Greek delicatessens. If unavailable, simply omit.


Photography by Alan Benson