Lemon Gigante Beans

If you’ve never cooked with giant beans, now is the time. In this dish baby fennel, plump Greek gigante beans, and sliced lemon tangle with a honey-kissed white wine sauce, all finished with a shower of chopped dill. A perfect side.

Lemon Gigante Beans

This is baby fennel, giant beans (Greek gigante beans), sliced lemon, a honey-kissed, in-pan, white wine sauce, all finished with a shower of chopped dill. If any of you are in a side-dish rut, I'm going to lobby for trying this. It's fast, it's good, and as a base idea, it's flexible. You can make the beans as instructed below, or use the recipe as a jumping off point.
gigante beans cooked with fennel and herbs in a serving dish

Lemon Gigante Beans: Variations

There are a lot of ways to tweak this recipe idea. There are also a bunch of great suggestions down in the comments as well!

  • When made in an oven-proof skillet, top it with feta, chopped olives, and breadcrumbs, and bake into a crunchy-topped gratin.
  • Add a poached egg on top of each serving to make a complete one bowl meal.
  • Add a few cups of water (or herby broth), season well, and you have a bright, substantial stew.

Giant Beans: Favorite Sources

Greek gigante beans can be challenging to source in local stores. I tend to stock up ( with a few bags) when finding them, or order, in bulk, on line.

  • Arosis Gigante Beans: Keep an eye out for the organic version of these as well.
  • Rancho Gordo Royal Corona Beans: These are a fantastic substitute for Greek gigandes. Comparable in size, they’re often a bit creamier.

cooked gigante beans in a serving dish on a table

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Lemon Gigante Beans

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Gigante beans or large corona beans are my favorite here, but white cannellinis are also a great option!

  • 4-5 small fennel bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • Half a lemon, scrubbed and sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups cooked gigante beans
  • 1/2 cup water (or reserved liquid from cooking the beans)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dill
  1. To prep the fennel, remove each bulb's tough outermost layer. Trim each bulb's
base, and slice along the length into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil starts to ripple and move away from the center of the pan, add the fennel. Scatter the wedges across the surface of the pan rather than gathering them into a clump, and let them sit without stirring until the sides touching the pan caramelize and brown a bit, roughly 2 minutes or so. Stir, and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the fennel has cooked through.
  3. Add the honey, lemon, salt, and wine to the pan, stirring to combine. Let the wine simmer and reduce for a minute or so before adding the beans and water. Cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  4. These beans are good served at just about any temperature - hot, warm, or room temperature. Serve topped with a big handful of chopped dill and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

Serves 4.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
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Recipe Rating


Hi! Is the white wine mandatory? Any ideas for a replacement – we never buy it. Thanks!


    You could substitute a broth for the liquids, make it spicy with some chopped chiles…

    Heidi Swanson

I’ve been doing a lot of Middle Eastern cooking and baking lately. I added some sesame seeds and chopped Moroccan Preserved Lemons to finish it off, it was lovely. And your photography is beautiful.

Kevin | keviniscooking

    Love this idea Kevin!

    Heidi Swanson

Looks too good!!

Hari Chandana

Oh gawwwwwsh this is incredible.

bev @ bevcooks

I’d love to put a Middle Eastern spin on this recipe. Add a couple of heaping spoonfuls of labneh, loosely swirl them around a la a marble cake, then sprinkle with zatar or sumac and toasted sesame seeds..


that looks so so tasty! thanks for posting this, I’m always interested in new fennel recipes!

sophie o.

Keeping the lemon in there seems bold…maybe add potato and puree for kind of a vichyssoise?


I could see carmelizing some onion along with the fennel, and adding some kale or other greens, serving over quinoa as an entree. I love the preserved lemons idea too


All the flavors I want right now, thanks to spring finally arriving. I just got in a shipment of Rancho Gordo big white beans, so I’ll have this in mind when I get to cooking them.


You could add more texture by frying the beans in a little olive oil, so that the edges get crispy, before folding in the other ingredients. I love doing that with beans; I first tasted them this way in Barcelona.


    Yes! Love a pan-fried giant bean.

    Heidi Swanson

It’s like you knew I had just cooked off tons of gigante beans and needed something to do with them! I loved this recipe and will surely be making it again and again. Thanks, Heidi.


I love the champagne cork in your first photo…its presence suggests a simple, elegant meal – this lovely bean dish & a glass of champagne…a toast to Spring! We enjoyed your Shredded Egg Salad this week. Shredded eggs…genius! So light and fluffy and, as for fresh dill, well, it’s going in and on just about everything these days. As always, many thanks.

Kristin | The Dinner Concierge

I love fennel, so I am eager to give this a try…can anyone comment on using canned beans?


Hi there, I’ve recently become a vegetarian and am so glad to have found this site. I’ve been wanting to explore different food options and these recipes are amazing, Heidi.


We tried it tonight for dinner and absolutely loved it! The combination has a very unexpected depth of flavour – is it the honey, the dill, or the lightly caramelised fennel? Not sure, but the whole has a fantastic sweet nuttiness…We didn’t have any white wine on hand, so I just used a splash of apple cidre vinegar – I think it worked very well here, too. Thanks for this, x Valeria


I made this tonight with giant lima beans and preserved lemon. I went the crunchy top gratin route with goat cheese crumbles, chopped olives, and buttered breadcrumbs. Yum!

Anne Marie

Made this today with scarlet runner beans– it was both beautiful and so delicious. I served it on soft polenta. Whew was it good. This is a new fav for sure.


Well this is all kinds of perfect and I can’t wait to try it! As a variation I might, skip the honey & add slow roasted tomatoes and anchovies for a rustic Italian dish.

Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily

Beans are one of my great loves. Fennel, we’re still early in our relationship. We’re still trying to figure each other out, see how well we play together. Maybe a double date will help fennel and I get to see the best in each other. Or maybe it will just make things terribly awkward.


So happy the fennel season has kicked off here in Australia. I’m a big fan of the bulb vegetable. Must say, I love it in a gratin.

Michelle Reedy

The gratin sounds delightful. Anything with fennel in the spring just sounds fresh and lovely. Thank you so much!


Oooh I love the combo of gigantic beans and baby fennel, and the flavors are perfect for early spring! I look forward to trying this soon.

la domestique

What a lovely dish, baby fennel and cannellini seems like perfect pairing. I’d toss in some spinach or kale and some broth to make soup. It’s raining where I am 🙂


Oh my lord, these beans are HUUUGE! What a lovely, simple dish! 🙂 Thanks for sharing. So easy to adapt, too.

Katie @ Produce on Parade

I’m thinking this beautiful fennel dish would also be very delicious with the addition of very thin slices or dices of half of a preserved lemon. As my first batch is ready to enjoy, I’ve been adding them to everything from hummus to grain salads to vegetable tagines.


These beans sound fantastic! I never know what to do with fennel–a raw salad is a little too much for me–but braising it? Genius. My ideas for variations are pretty simple–like subbing green beans for the fennel, adding some tomato to the broth for a semi-Provencal-y soup, or serving the whole business on a piece of toast, adding a parmesan breadcrumb, and sticking it under the broiler for a minute. Yay!


I made this tonight–absolutely delicious! I don’t care for big beans, so I used great northerns. Came out great and so easy.


Let me tell you Heidi, I think you do marvelous things with all ingredients. But you especially know your way around a bean. This is stunning. I’ve also enjoyed both your chipotle white bean recipe and your carrot, dill, and white bean salad. Sure I’m missing several other good ones too.

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

For Deb: I recently did some of those exact beans, and after a good overnight soak, they still needed simmering for several hours, so beware of this. I added green garlic sautéed with chopped kale & mustard greens in olive oil to the bowls before serving, and topped off with beans– they are quite ‘meaty’ and yummy….and this recipe of Heidi’s is awesome, will be doing it soon!


This sounds perfect! Especially love the sound of baking it in the oven with feta. Yum!

Emma Galloway

Oh this looks so lovely. I would love to spoon some of this over a big pile or herbed couscous or quinoa or something to soak up the juices for a complete meal. Absolutely gorgeous!

Christina @ but i'm hungry

I’m thinking fresh favas from my garden


What is your source for Corona Beans? It is sometimes difficult to find them dried that are not a hundred years old. Or do you just use canned?


    Hi Mariangela, Rancho Gordo stocks them now.

    Heidi Swanson

A great herb combination with cannellini beans is sage – so I would use sage in place of the dill and add in some roasted garlic.


    Love this take.

    Heidi Swanson

Sounds and looks beautiful. I have some fennel in the refrigerator, but I’m not very familiar with it. Since I don’t have baby fennel, can I use the fennel I have?


    Yes! Perhaps slice it into narrower strips, it won’t be as tender to start.

    Heidi Swanson

This sounds like a splendid way to enjoy white beans, which is one of my favorite beans. The flavors sound delicious & I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Maui Girl Cooks

Oh, I love this. With warm, buttered crusty bread. So good.


Suggestion for Deb: a good way to use those pink beans is to prepare a typical Chilean dish (porotos granados): Cook the beans with some cubed squash and basil leaves. Once they are cooked, you put the dish together with creamed corn (not too creamy, though) to thicken the broth and some sauteed chopped onion seasoned with a bit of cumin and paprika. You serve it with chopped fresh basil on top. It is like a thick soup, and delicious.
You can also use sliced corn instead of creamed corn; in this case it is a more liquid soup, but just as good.


The Recipe sounds great! I would take it one step further and turn this into A Greek Dish by Frothing egg whites slowly adding fresh lemon juice and adding a bit of the cooked juices from the pan make sure it’s warm not hot so as not to curdle, then incorporate with the dish by folding froth into the beans.
Avgolemono Style!


As much as I love fennel I need to try this out! I usually eat fennel raw only. All I have combined it with so far is oranges and olive oil. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe with us 🙂

Rosa @ mediterranealicious

There is nothing like caramelized fennel. I love the buttery texture and the smokey sweetness. I just love the idea of eating this warm. Here comes Spring!

Gail {A Healthy Hunger}

Question for Heidi, and others, if you want to chime in. I was recently in the Bay Area for work and picked up a few bags of Rancho Gordo beans to bring back east with me.
The bag of beautiful Scarlet Runners I have is staring at me from the pantry and I really want to do something special with them. They’re big beans, and I imagine they cook up to a deep pink color.
What kinds of veg and flavors go best with these beauties?
Thanks for any ideas.




Always looking for new recipes for cannellini beans which I just love. This looks beautiful and I love the idea of a gratin with feta or maybe as a base for a vegetarian cottage pie type thing.

Caroline @ Shrinking Single

What a perfectly lovely springtime dish. When I think about how I’d like to eat this, I want to spoon it on some toasted rustic bread and eat it like bruschetta. : )

Crystal | Apples & Sparkle

I just recently fell in love with fennel, so this looks amazing!


This looks simply amazing! I love anything “Honey Kissed”. Will try with the poached egg. Thank you for this post!

Vegan Woman

it’s like you know me so well…


Lovely! I reckon dijon/lemon/garlic would be great too.


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