I’d like to tell you now about a cheap,
vegetarian meal which doesn’t skimp on taste or filling up an empty belly:
Gigantes are large white beans. This particular type of legume is rare outside
Greece and should not be confused with large beans you can buy in western
supermarkets (e.g. lima beans). Gigantes beans are only cultivated in three
regions of the world – one of them is the north of
Greece, just to the east of
Thessaloniki. The official Greek name for the bean is fasolia gigantes.
The soft, boiled gigantes you can order in Cretan restaurants come in a rich
tomato sauce with a lot of oil, sometimes with carrots, garlic and a little
sugar added. You can dunk bread in the sauce for extra flavour.
Gigantes are often the cheapest main dish in a
Cretan restaurant. A filling
portion can be had for less than €5. Not bad for a healthy, delicious and cheap
If you try to prepare gigantes at home buy dried beans rather than tinned. Dried
beans taste much better even if it takes an age to cook them until they are soft