Super nutritious and easy to make, gigantes plaki is a traditional Greek recipe with butter beans baked to perfection in the oven. Enjoy with crunchy bread for a satisfying and healthy lunch.
After Italian, I like Greek food the best, mostly because no one uses flavors and olive oil so generously as the Greek. Whenever I think of Greece, I immediately picture some juicy olives and a piece of spanakopita. And have I mentioned the sweets? It’s paradise.
Gigantes plaki is a traditional Greek recipe that consists of giant butter beans (hence the “gigantes”) baked in a luscious tomato sauce infused with herbs for final flavours that are out of this world.
It’s rather difficult to find gigantes beans outside Greece, so if you can’t get your hands on them, you can substitute with regular butter beans. What I love most about this gigantes plaki recipe is how flavourful the thick tomato sauce is and how the beans tender enough so you can bite into them.
Gigantes plaki is a vegan recipe (or vegetarian if you decide to serve it in the traditional way, with a bit of crumbled feta on top). It makes for an amazing lunch, and you can pair it with fresh crusty bread or even some focaccia.
What do you need to make gigantes plaki?
The beauty of this recipe is that it only requires a couple of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. There are lots of ways to make gigantes plaki and you’ll find lots of variations, but as you may have gathered by now, I like to keep it simple and cheerful, so I don’t use things such as stock or wine. The flavour is all in the herbs, so that’s what I go with.
To make the gigantes plaki, you’ll need:
- 500 g giant beans (gigantes) or butter beans — you’ll need to soak these in a bowl full of water for 12 to 24 hours. I leave them overnight and they work just fine. You’ll then need to bring them to boil and simmer for 40-50 minutes until tender, but not completely done.
- Olive oil — the quality of the olive oil is paramount in this recipe, because you’re going to be able to feel it. Go for the best you can find, preferably Greek.
- Garlic — 2 cloves (or more if you want to be able to feel it)
- Onion — red or white
- Celery sticks
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Ground cinnamon — this will give an unexpected flavour to the dish, but it’s so worth it
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
You can also add carrots or a red bell pepper to the mix, but it’s not really necessary. The flavours are just fine with fewer ingredients.
How to make gigantes plaki?
Apart from the soaking and boiling of the beans thing, this is pretty much a dump and start recipe. All you need to do is chop the onions and celery, add them to the tray you’re going to use and roast them for 15 minutes in the over at 180C.
Then add all the other ingredients, including the boiled beans, mix it well and bake at 180C for another 60 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick. The time can really differ from one oven to another, and I noticed that you need to keep an eye on it at the end so the whole thing doesn’t become too dry.
You can serve them hot or at room temperature, as they are if you want your gigantes plaki vegan, or with some feta cheese on top.
- 500 g gigantes beans (or butter beans)
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 large red or white onion, finely chopped
- 4-5 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Soak the gigantes beans overnight (or for up to 24 hours). When you're ready to use them, bring them to boil in a pot and let them simmer for 40-50 minutes until tender, but not completely done. Remove them from the pot and drain.
- Heat the oven at 180C. Chop the onion and celery and add them to a tray with 2 tbsp olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minute until soft.
- Get the tray out of the oven and add all the other ingredients, including the drained beans. Add 100 ml hot water and mix everyhting well.
- Bake for another 60 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick. The timing may vary according to oven, so keep an eye on it towards the end. The beans should not be mushy and you should be able to bite into them.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with crusty bread and crumbled feta cheese (optional).
If the beans are not soaked / simmered enough, you many need to bake for an additional 30 to 60 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 246Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 5g