Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes

Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side is full of fiber, protein, good fats, and sweet syrupy roasted tomatoes. #meandthemoose #dinner #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #bakedfeta #cheese #roastedtomatoes #tomatoseason #sheetpandinner

Anyone out there who might think that a “meatless” meal wouldn’t satisfy them, hasn’t had giant white beans for dinner. This meal is full of fiber, protein, and delicious sweetness from the roasted tomatoes.

Straight to the recipe, please!

Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side is full of fiber, protein, good fats, and sweet syrupy roasted tomatoes. #meandthemoose #dinner #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #bakedfeta #cheese #roastedtomatoes #tomatoseason #sheetpandinner

Gigante beans, lima beans, large white beans, whatever you want to call them, these beans make a meal in a way that other legumes don’t always cut it for me.

I’ve only ever seen these beans in dry form, so while I’m averse to most extra work in the kitchen, I don’t see a way around cooking them yourself if you want to use these big guys.

Which leads us to the age old question: Do you really need to soak dried beans? Some will insist that you do. I say, LAZY COOKS UNITE! I have a preschooler and don’t always have that much foresight.

But here’s one caveat: Sans soaking, the simmering times vary WILDLY for these beans. One batch I made from Brand A were ready after about 90 minutes.. Brand B took almost twice as long. And while everyone advises “look for fresh beans,” if you could seriously show me a bag of beans with an expiration date on it, I would give you a million dollars.

Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side is full of fiber, protein, good fats, and sweet syrupy roasted tomatoes. #meandthemoose #dinner #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #bakedfeta #cheese #roastedtomatoes #tomatoseason #sheetpandinner

So, here are some handy tutorials that you can peruse and decide if you’re team soak or team no soak:

If I was the meal prepping type I’d suggest making a whole bag of these beans one weekend and freezing them for easy weeknight meals. Because once you cook the beans, this meal could not be easier or faster.

Roasting makes the tomatoes syrupy sweet, the cheese just a little soft and gooey, and the bean skins crispy in a way that is completely satisfying.

Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side is full of fiber, protein, good fats, and sweet syrupy roasted tomatoes. #meandthemoose #dinner #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #bakedfeta #cheese #roastedtomatoes #tomatoseason #sheetpandinner

A few notes:

  • I salt the bean cooking water and then don’t add any more salt until serving the beans. They soak up the sodium during cooking, so it’s very easy to over salt this dish. Also, feta is a salt bomb, so we’ve found that the end product needs no extra seasoning.

  • I’ve billed this as a meatless meal, but it could also serve as a side or appetizer just as easily.

  • Do NOT skip the lemon zest in the end. The citrus brightens up the beans and adds a layer of flavor without which, the beans could taste a bit flat.

  • I prefer to use a combo of both dried and fresh oregano, but use what you have on hand.

Baked gigante beans with feta and tomatoes | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side is full of fiber, protein, good fats, and sweet syrupy roasted tomatoes. #meandthemoose #dinner #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #bakedfeta #cheese #roastedtomatoes #tomatoseason #sheetpandinner

Baked feta with gigante beans and tomatoes


Active time: about 20 minutes, on and off
Total time: 90-150 for the beans, 25-30 for the main dish
Yield: 4 dinner servings,

For the beans:
1½ cups dried giant white beans, rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
1-2 cups water (as needed)
½ tsp sea salt
1-2 bay leaves
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled, but left whole

Yield: 3 heaping cups of cooked beans

Combine the beans, stock, salt, bay leaf, and garlic cloves in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce flame to low and simmer, covered, for anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours (90-150 minutes), stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and soft, but not falling apart and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Check the beans after 60 minutes and then every 15-30 minutes after that (depending on how your beans are progressing) until the beans are tender throughout. Add more liquid if the water boils off before the beans are fully cooked.

 Drain any remaining liquid from the beans and remove the bay leaves.

For the main dish:
1/2 cup olive oil, divided  
½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano (or a combination of both dried for cooking and fresh for topping)
½ tsp smoked paprika
2-3 cups cherry tomatoes, whole (about 8-12 oz)
Small block Feta cheese (8 oz)
½ tsp lemon zest (zest of one small lemon)

Preheat oven to 400.

In a bowl or the pot you used to simmer the beans, add 1/4 cup of olive oil, Aleppo pepper, oregano, paprika, and tomatoes to the beans and mix well.

In a 9x13 baking pan (or whatever size you have), spread out the bean and tomato mixture. Clear a hole in the middle and add the feta.

Cook for 20-23 minutes, until the feta is soft and the tomatoes have released their juices AND those juices have become a little syrupy.  

Remove from the heat and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon zest, fresh oregano (if using), and sprinkling of flaky sea salt (if needed).

Meatless Monday: Black bean dip

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Hear me out: Let’s serve dip for dinner tonight. Or in your kids’ lunchboxes tomorrow. And credit where it’s due: This recipe is cribbed almost entirely from M’s dad as black bean dip is one of his signature party dishes.

This gloop is primarily black beans, with just a smidge of cream cheese for richness and some onions, garlic, and spices to make it aromatic. Add in a dash of lime juice for acid, a smattering of shredded cheese on top that gets all melty and crispy in the oven, and you have a quick and hearty dish in about 30 minutes. AND, you can make it an even faster meal if you a small cast-iron or other oven-safe saute pan.

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox
Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

The taste and texture of this dip remind me of refried beans, but better.

You can scoop it into tortillas with some fresh veggies for a meatless dinner that’s full of protein. Or add shredded rotisserie chicken or other leftover proteins from the weekend for an even heartier meal. OR squash this concoction between tortillas for a dinner or lunch quesadilla.

Also, M is very keen on chips and dip as dinner, but I don’t want him to burn out on guacamole as it’s one of our go-to’s. And beans are an excellent source of non-meat protein, so if he’s suddenly off of meat, which toddlers often are, this dip helps to fill him up for a good night’s sleep (hopefully).

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Black bean dip

1 Tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp oregano
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cream cheese
½ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1-2 Tbsp water
1-1½ cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. (I don’t use the broiler for this one because I want it to warm the dip while it melts the cheese and the broiler is a bit too much heat, too fast.)

In a small skillet (bonus if it’s oven safe! You’ll only need one pan!), heat the olive oil over a medium low flame. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

Place the cooked onions, garlic, and spices in a blender or food processor. Add the drained and rinsed black beans, cream cheese, salt and lime juice. Pulse several times until the ingredients are well broken up, but not liquified, scraping down the sides as needed.

Continue pulsing while you add the water 1 tsp at a time until you’ve reached the right consistency. I like this dip to be somewhere between chunky and liquidy. There is definitely some texture, but no “chunks’ of beans.

Put the mixture back into your oven-safe skillet or into a small casserole dish. The wider and shallower the dish, the more surface area you have for cheese, so pick accordingly. Top with the shredded cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and begins to crisp on the sides and bubble in the middle.

Yield: 4 cups of dip

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Carrot and ricotta turnovers

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

I keep choosing holiday recipes that are either multi-stepped, super complicated, or painstaking. I mean, who doesn't love sugar cookies painted with luster dust and puppy cupcakes? But not every holiday dessert or appetizer has to be a labor of love, know what I mean?

These carrot turnovers are a little sweet, a little savory and completely delicious. They're also easy to put together and seem fancier than they actually are. And there are vegetables! I made these guys fairly large when they were just a part of our dinner, but for a crowd, I would cut the rolled out pastry dough into 12 squares and check them after about 14 minutes of cooking.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

Carrot, apple, and thyme turnovers

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium apple (1/2 large apple), peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
½ cup whole milk ricotta
2-3 tsp honey
2 sprigs thyme
1 sheet puff pastry dough

Preheat the oven to 400. Chop the carrots and apples. Place the carrots in a deep pot and cover with cold water, plus one inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the carrots are boiling, add a steamer basket on top and steam the apples for 8 minutes. Drain the apples and carrots and let cool slightly.

Set aside half of the cooked apple chunks. Pulse the cooked carrots and the rest of the apples with 2 Tbsp water until you've reached your desired consistency, adding more water if necessary. At this point, you have a tasty apple and carrot puree. If stopping here, you could also add a glug of olive oil or some pureed protein for a complete baby meal.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

For the turnovers, combine the puree with reserved apple chunks, ricotta, honey (to taste), and thyme. Stir to combine and set aside. Again, you can stop here and have another tasty puree for a baby over the age of one year or sub maple syrup for the honey if feeding to a younger baby.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

Cut a piece of parchment that is slightly larger than your sheet pan. Place the puff pastry dough on the parchment and gently roll out the dough to lengthen it, allowing you to cut out squares instead of rectangles. Cut into 6 squares. Move your parchment and dough onto the sheet pan. Spoon 2 Tbsp of the carrot, apple, thyme, and cheese mixture into the bottom corner of the turnovers. Fold over to make triangles and gently press the sides together. Bake for 16 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: 6 large turnovers or 12 small turnovers

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes
Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes