Gigantes plaki is a traditional Greek recipe that uses giant butter beans, known as ‘gigantes beans’. They are baked in a rich but simple tomato sauce and topped with salty feta, fresh herbs and EVOO.
It is hard to get ‘gigantes beans’ outside of Greece, so I have used butter beans instead. Whilst you can cook your own beans from dried, for convenience I have used tinned butter beans. This means the dish is ready in 75 minutes (60 minutes of which are spent in the oven).
Made from mostly storecupboard ingredients, it a dish I often resort to when meal plans don’t go to…well, plan. It is an easy vegetarian recipe that my meat eating husband will happily eat every day, which is always a good sign!
It is such a good dish to serve if you have guests; once it’s in the oven, it stays there for an hour, leaving you free to chat with your guests. As it is best eaten warm, it can be made slightly ahead too, and doesn’t spoil if your guests are late.
You do need to use a good olive oil for this dish, it really makes all the difference. If you don’t want to use EVOO in the tomato sauce then save it for the drizzle over the top just before serving.
- With crusty bread
- A crispy green salad.
- It also makes a great mezze dish. I love serving it as part of a fun ‘tastes of the world’ meze platter with Spanish Patatas Bravas, Guasacaca (Venezuelan Guacamole), pumpkin hummus, and pitta bread.
- Serve it on it’s own, with some bread and/or a salad. It is also a great dish to serve if you have guests; as once it’s in the oven, it stays there for an hour, leaving you free to get on with other jobs, or chat to guests. As it is best eaten warm, it can be made slightly ahead too. It also makes a great mezze style dish. Why not serve it alongside Patatas Bravas and Guasacaca (Venezuelan Guacamole) for a fun tastes of the world type mezze?
I love them cold, served simply on toast or with salad. But you could also stuff it into a pitta bread, mix it with cold cooked rice or faro (or any other grain) as a salad, or blitzing any leftovers into a soup with vegetable stock, carrots, and celery.
Make it Yours:
Vegan Oven Baked Beans: Omit the feta. You can also use a dairy free feta if you wish. If not using any salty cheese you may want to add a little more salt to the dish.
Dairy free Gigantes Plaki: As above for vegan.
No oregano: Use fresh basil or parsley.
If you like this recipe, you may like these other family dinners/lunches made with tinned/canned beans:
15 minute Vegetarian Nachos – Tinned Kidney Beans are fried with spices then piled on corn chips with assorted veggies.
Easy chana masala – This Indian vegan curry combines chickpeas, tinned tomatoes and spices
Coconut Chickpea Curry – lightly spiced chickpea curry with hidden veggies in the sauce
Mexican bean chilli – kidney beans, tomatoes and corn make the base for this storecupboard dinner you can top to suit individual family members tastes.
Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 400 g tin tomatoes crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 c/ 250ml water
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1 – 2 tbsp fresh oregano finely chopped
- 400 g tin butter beans
- Pinch of salt
- Black pepper
- 100 g Feta to sprinkle over
- Extra oregano to serve
- 1-2 tsp olive oil to serve, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/360˚F
- Fry the onion in the oil over a low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute then tip the onion and garlic into an oven proof casserole dish.
- Add the tomato puree, tin tomatoes, water, cinnamon, oregano and butter beans.
- Stir well to combine.
- Place in oven with the lid on and bake for 1 hour without stirring.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then scatter with the fresh herbs, feta and olive oil before serving.