Gigante Bean Salad – Big on Taste, Big on Health

Gigante Bean SaladGigante Beans are BIG; not only in size, but in taste and nutrients. They are a delicious source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, antioxidants, and are low in fat.  Since Gigante Beans are found in many Greek dishes, I decided to make a Mediterranean-style salad with oven roasted tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olives and basil. The salad can be served hot or at room temperature. Enjoy it as a side dish or entree for a summer dinner on the patio. You can also toss in some orecchiette (little ears) pasta or toasted pignoli nuts to switch it up.  I think a nice glass of Prosecco or Pinot Grigio is in order tonight! Any leftovers will make a great lunch for later in the week. Make it a Vegi-curious day.

Gigante Bean Salad

1 pound dried Gigante beans (large lima beans)
2 cloves of garlic, left whole

8 plum tomatoes, sliced in half
Fresh thyme sprigs
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt, pepper

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup Kalamata olives
4 basil leaves, chopped

Soak beans overnight by placing beans in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse beans, then cover with more water. Add whole garlic cloves to pot. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes until beans are soft, but not mushy. When done, drain well and place in large, shallow bowl.

Preheat oven to 325F. Coat a glass baking dish very lightly with olive oil (you can opt to omit the oil). Place the tomatoes in the baking dish cut side down, add garlic, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until tomatoes are soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove tomatoes from oven and let cool enough to chop. Add tomatoes, vinegar, olives and basil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


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