Gigantes Plaki - Greek-style baked white beans
This is a traditional and delicious Greek dish made with buttery large white beans stewed in an herby tomato sauce. Serve these up with crusty bread, an extra drizzle of olive oil, and crumbled feta. A very fabulous, simple, vegan and vegetarian side or meal that you will love!
What are Gigantes?
Gigantes in Greek (without sounding like the guy from my big fat Greek wedding) literally means giants. And that is what you’re cooking with in this dish — giant white beans like Lima or butter beans baked in a tomato based sauce. This is a perfect side or a meal in itself. At a Greek restaurant you will find it in the ‘meze’ or small plates section, and it goes wonderfully with feta, an extra drizzle of olive oil and served with pita bread or some crusty bread to sop up the beautiful sauce they cook in.
The sauce is flavoured with fresh herbs and I love adding in some greens so I added kale to this recipe which can be replaced with spinach or any other greens. It’s a great vegetarian and vegan dish option if you’re cooking with that in mind. I sometimes add carrots and celery to it too. For a non vegan/vegetarian option you can also add in sausage as well. It’s so good and I can eat it for any meal of the day. In fact, I ate it today with a fried egg and toast for breakfast and my belly was very happy. So delicious and full of flavour and it’s beans and tomatoes and greens after all so not only is it tasty but so good for you too!!
I like mine hot out the oven but it can be served and eaten cold as well. Like any other saucy bean dish, it only gets better the day after as the flavours develop further. This is totally a Greek classic and one of my favourites to eat!! Hope you give it a try and definitely let me know what you think!
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnishing after
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼-½ tsp of chili flakes
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 19oz cans of large white beans like Lima or butter beans rinsed and drained or 2 cups of dry large white beans like Lima or butter (see note below)
- ¼ cup of water or broth if needed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chopped kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- In a medium sized pot heat up olive oil and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for 8-10 minutes until veggies are tender. Make sure and season with salt and pepper. Then add the herbs, chili flakes, and oregano and sauté for another minute. Then add the tomato paste and sauté stirring well for another minute.
- Pour in the tomatoes, water or broth, and add the bay leaf, kale if using, the beans and stir well and allow to simmer for for another 5-8 minutes, checking for seasoning.
- Carefully pour the whole mixture into a prepared baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes. Beans with be tender and bubbling and top layer with be lightly browned. Check halfway through cooking to see if beans are too dry and need a little more water or broth. Once done garnish with fresh parsley, and serve with crumbled feta and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
** If using dry beans soak in cold water overnight and then rinse and drain and simmer in a large pot of water covered for approx 1 hour or until soft throughout but not fully cooked. Drain them and then they are ready to use in the recipe above. They will cook through fully when they are roasting in tomato juice. (I used canned because I could not find large dry white beans)