Gigantes Antipasto Two Ways

June 29, 2021
Antipasto or antipasti is an appetizer (starter) course in an Italian meal, food or drink (They can be hot or cold) to stimulate the appetite (usually served before a meal or as the first course). Gigantes are the giant white beans mainly used in Greek/Mediterranean cuisine. In Greek, appetizers are known as orektika (ορεκτικά) and pronounced oh-rek-tee-KAH). They differ from meze/mezethes, which are small plates of food used to complement and enhance the taste of alcoholic beverages and be the backdrop for a social gathering.

I created two versions for this—one is more Italian style (this version is also amazing with chickpeas), the other resembles Greek cuisine more with the vegan feta but both of them are satisfyingly delicious. This starter goes a long way from a simple appetizer to a side dish or breakfast/brunch but even as a party nibble.

You can of course make this recipe within 15 minutes if you use canned beans but I decided to go with dried gigantes. In that case, you'll need to soak them in water the night before so they soften up and cook them before making the salad. If you want a warm salad, don't let the beans cool down; but if you'd like it cold, let them cool before mixing and then let it chill in the fridge before serving.
gigantes antipasto

Gigantes Antipasto Two Ways

utensils YIELDS 4 servings
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  • 250 g gigantes beans
  • 2 handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp herb vinegar
  • to taste salt, pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp each basil, parsley, oregano
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 100g vegan feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • GF bread
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Directions

1. If using dried gigantes, soak them in plenty of water in a large bowl overnight and cook them tender before making the salads.

2. You can also use canned beans, then just rinse and drain the beans before adding to the recipe.

3. Once the beans are ready divide them into two equal portions, in two large bowls.

For the Italian style salad:
Chop the onion and the cherry tomatos, press or mince 1 garlic and chop the mint. Combine them with one portion on the gigantes, 1 tbs olive oil, herb vinegar, cumin seeds and mint and set them aside to steep for a while.
Once ready season once more with salt, pepper before serving.

For the Greek style salad:

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbs oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, agave syrup, 1 minced garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Pour it over the beans.

Stir in crumbled vegan feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes.
To get the most flavor out of the salad stick it in the fridge—but you can eat both salads right away.

 

I really love them over olive toast—for this I drizzle my gluten-free bread with extra virgin olive oil liberally while heating up a skillet over medium heat and then add the bread to the skillet once hot to toast each side until golden and crunchy. You can also try to rub a clove of garlic in the bread first, sprinkle with fresh herbs then drizzle with olive oil and toast.

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Photo: Imola Toth


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