A simple vegetarian meal you can enjoy hot or at room temperature – and leftovers taste great too.
Gigantes Plaki is a comforting bean stew in which beans are gently simmered in a tomato sauce, then topped with salty feta and fragrant herbs – which take the dish to another level.
There are countless versions of Gigantes Plaki, but I have tried to keep it as simple as possible, so you can get the dish into the oven in minimal time, then leave it for an hour to cook beautifully and get on with everything else on your list. Purists will say to cook your beans from raw, and if you have the time then definitely do that, but this dish is all about ease and so I use tinned.
Gigante beans are quite tricky to get hold of too, so I have substituted the more common and inexpensive butter beans.
Made with mostly storecupboard ingredients, it a wonderful dish to have to hand for when your fridge is looking bare. 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?
What can I do with Leftover Gigantes Plaki?
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 Your Gigantes Plaki:
Vegan: 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: As above for vegan.
No oregano: Use fresh basil or parsley.
If you are looking for more vegetarian meals, why not have a look at my simple Cheese & Tomato Lasagne, Zucchini Quiche, or of you are after something more plant based, this Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small (red) onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g tin tomatoes
1c/ 250ml water
1 – 2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tin butter beans
Pinch of salt
100g 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.