Cretan Bean Stew with Spinach

  • Serves

    serves 4-6

  • Cook

    5 hours


Dark leafy greens are the predomi­nant vegetables in Crete, where more than 100 types grow and they are often paired with beans in sautés, stews, and pies. To make this rustic, lightly sweet side dish to accompany his meat and cheese dishes, Trilirakis uses manaroli, a legume similar to a chickpea but with a characteristic black spot. You can cook the beans up to a few days ahead of serving; store in fresh water in the refrigerator.

Welcome to the land of lost cheeses, where a band of shepherds and farmers resist industrialization

Featured in: There’s No Feta in Crete »

What You Will Need


  • 3 cups (1¼ lb.) dried manaroli (biza) beans or dried chickpeas
  • 34 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 yellow onion (9 oz.), diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 14 cup raisins
  • 1 large tomato (about 6 oz.), chopped
  • 1 lb. spinach, large stems trimmed, rinsed well
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

In a large bowl or vessel, add the beans and enough water to cover by 3 inches. Let soak at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Drain and rinse well.

Step 2

In a large pot, combine the drained beans and enough water to cover by 4 inches (do not salt). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain the beans, discarding the cooking liquid, and set aside.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and onion and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 10–12 minutes. Add the beans and wine and bring the wine to a simmer. Add the raisins, cover, and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 18–20 minutes. Uncover the pot, stir in the tomato and spinach, and season with salt.

Step 4

Transfer the pot to the oven (do not cover). Bake, shaking or stirring the pan occasionally, until the greens are wilted and dark and all remaining liquid has evaporated, 10–12 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.