Gigantes Butter Beans Recipe

This gigantes butter beans recipe is a traditional Mediterranean way of preparing legumes; little wonder these people are so much more healthy. Mind you, I prefer them green straight from the pod over dried; then there will be less problems from lectins too.

It is the name of a traditional Greek dried bean recipe, meaning giants, of course.

Limas, when dried are known as butter beans. They are big. If you have grown them in the garden, then I would not use them for this gem; fresh, lima beans have a lovely flavour all of their own. Buy the canned ones for this dish.

Lima beans shelled

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 28th July, 2021.

It is no coincidence the Mediterranean people have more vigour. They have less tumours and arthritis, and live longer. That is in part because they do not get all their protein from red-meat and dairy products.

They eat plenty of legumes for their amino-acids, and they enjoy fish too. They have traded sunflower with olive oil, and sup on plenty of vegetables like eggplant.

And perhaps that midday power-nap is significant too.

Butter beans are rich in phytochemicals; they are plant-fats that have a structure not dissimilar to cholesterol. They block the absorption of toxic low density lipoproteins.

They are described in the literature as functional-foods; those that are recognised as promoting wellness and preventing disease.

Along with tomatoes, foods containing large amounts of phytosterols are particularly beneficial in the prevention of prostate-conditions.

Prostate-tumours are the leading killer of men; make sure that your family has tomatoes and legumes regularly on the menu, and avocados, but that is another story.

Gigantes Butter Beans Recipe

  1. 1 pound of dried butter beans
  2. 4 large very ripe tomatoes
  3. 2 large or 3 smaller onions
  4. 1 TBSP of tomato paste
  5. As much fresh garlic as you like. Perhaps six cloves.
  6. A couple slithers of hot chili but that's my variant. Beans can be a little dull!
  7. Oregano, parsley and thyme to taste, be generous.
  8. Olive oil.

How to cook butter beans

  • Soak your dried butter beans for eight hours plus. Overnight.
  • Rinse them several times in a colander with large holes to get any junk out; and phytates too, so-called anti-nutrients.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot cover the butter beans with boiling water, and simmer for about half an hour. Don't let them get too soft because you are going to cook them more.
  • Drain, and rinse again several times.
  • Meanwhile, in another pot, gently fry the onions, chili and herbs in a good dollop of butter. If your cholesterol is in order, otherwise in olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, garlic and gently cook for about half an hour. Add a little water if necessary. Don't let them burn.
  • Add the tomato paste. Stir.
  • Add the finely chopped parsley and then the cooked beans.
  • Bring gently to the boil and simmer for about ten minutes. Add coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Enjoy your GIGANTES BUTTER BEANS RECIPE on a bed of pasta or mashed potato.
  • Or just as a side dish for a lovely Greek salad.

Likewise, foods rich in phytosterols are very important for all women. Along with the lignans in flaxseed and 100% wholemeal-bread, if you can get it, they block the sites in the breast tissue where circulating hormones are absorbed.

Getting back to real food, unprocessed and without added chemicals is the only way to promote wellness and reduce the dread-disease that lurks at every corner today.

It is also the only way to a life enjoyed largely without drugs; let your food be your medicine was the advice of the father of healthcare in the West, Hippocrates. I will add a heartfelt Amen to that. 

One cup of butter-beans contains 30g of fibre, the recommended daily allowance.

Glycemic response to legumes

The beauty of legumes in general, and limas in particular, is their excellent glycemic index. For butter beans it is 31; below 55 is considered low GI. 

Do you know about resistant starch? If you are obese you will naturally be concerned about the pasta or mashed-potato. Learning the meaning of retrogradation will revolutionise your eating plan.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
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  • Blue zone folk are religious
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That means that the beans are turned very slowly into blood-sugar, and you do not get a surge of insulin; that is the fat storage hormone which buries any sudden upturn in the glucose that your high GI foods produce in adipose tissue.

Instead much of that starch passes through to the normal flora in the colon, now known as the second-brain because of all the nutritious substances produced; like certain vitamins and dopamine.

Rather legumes give you a prolonged response; a sense of having eaten sufficiently, not followed by a famished feeling about an hour later. That is called satiety. You will not feel the need to snack.

Growing limas

Butter beans are of course just dried lima beans, known for their high protein and rich source of anti-oxidants. And fibre, good for your colon.

Lima are almost impossible to buy fresh. You have to make a small sunny-spot in the garden where you can build a small teepee of canes for growing lima beans.

Rich in anti oxidants they also help reduce the inflammation in the inner lining of blood vessels (the "intima") that causes varicose veins in legs, a very painful and serious condition that is best treatment with a paste made from raw honey and herbs, especially a phytosterol called beta-sitosterol.

Jup, the same "functional food" that helps enlarged prostates and a heap of other conditions. It is particularly rich in avocado pears.


Nitrogen Fixation

All plants need nitrogen. In agriculture it is supplied in the main in mono-culture crops with fertilizer.

However, bacteria in the roots of legumes like butter-beans have the capacity to fix nitrogen from the air, providing the element not only for themselves but also for the next crop; it is a big part of getting your garden soil ready for planting.

This is vital for us. That nitrogen is utilized by legumes to build the amino-acids that we need for our bodies.


Stones in my Clog

Holland is a country of many nationalities. People from all over the world live and work in cities like The Hague and Rotterdam, home to the International Court and the largest port in Europe for example.

It was in Dordrecht, a small, very old Dutch city that I met a man whom I affectionately called Zorba. He came from the Greek Islands, and consulted me with a fearful brachial neuralgia (pain from the neck, running down the arm) after an illegal football tackle.

His parents still lived on a Greek island, and owned an olive orchard. Zorba loved to bring me Greek tidbits. And so it was that I discovered his GIGANTES BUTTER BEANS RECIPE.

Stones in my Clog, my third book of  anecdotes is set in the polders of Holland. Here an extract of one chapter, translated into Dutch. The book of course is in English, available at Amazon for just $2.99.

Er kon geen vergissing ontstaan over mijnheer van Onzelen's manier van lopen. Zelfs de vriend die ik in de bus heb ontmoet, herkende het. We waren op weg naar huis. Hij heet Hendrik - hij is de mannelijke uitvoering van een werkster, hij poetst - maakt huizen schoon. We zagen beiden hoe mijnheer van Onzelen de bus binnenstrompelde. Ik stootte Hendrik aan: "Waarom denk je dat hij zo loopt?" fluisterde ik, terwijl het onderwerp van ons staren, buiten gehoorsafstand, zijn maandabonnement aan de buschauffeur liet zien.


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Canned food

This recipe goes back about fifteen-years to be acquaintance with Zorba. Since then I've become a greenie and use as little canned food as possible. So we now make this gigantes butter beans recipe with fresh limas from the garden; they are a delight, but do take time to pod.

Our fresh green lima-beans go mostly into Eggs Hilton these days, the season lasts nearly six months.

Then the broad-beans season takes over for the next three months; they are rich in dopamine which helps control the tremor in my right hand.

Stones in my Clog

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