This comforting and delicious Gigantes Plaki recipe features “giant” butter beans baked in a delightful tomato sauce with plenty of olive oil and seasonings.
Served with crusty bread and garnished with feta cheese, this meatless dish is a total treat for the taste buds.
While Greek cuisine may be best known in these parts for its gyros and souvlaki, it’s also one of our top choices for when we’re looking for a light vegetarian meal.
So when we wanted something a little lighter after all that Thanksgiving turkey, we decided it was finally time to bring these amazing butter beans to GypsyPlate.
Why You’ll Love Greek Baked Beans
- Flavor Explosion: The dish offers a symphony of flavors, from the sweet, mellow taste of butter beans to the robustness of tomato, garlic, and onion. Spices like oregano, thyme, and a hint of cinnamon add depth and complexity.
- Healthy & Nutritious: Rich in protein and fiber from the butter beans, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants from the array of vegetables, it’s a dish that nourishes as much as it satisfies.
- Comforting & Hearty: This dish is the epitome of comfort food. It’s warm, hearty, and filling, making it perfect for a cozy dinner.
- Versatility: It’s a versatile recipe that can be served as a main or as a side. It pairs beautifully with crusty bread, making for a satisfying meal any time.
What is Gigantes Plaki?
Gigantes Plaki is a classic dish in Greek cuisine. The name “Gigantes” translates to “giants,” referring to the large size of the white beans used in the recipe.
“Plaki” refers to the style of cooking, typically involving baking with a tomato-based sauce. Perhaps you’ve tried our Psari Plaki, which is a fish recipe that uses the same cooking method.
Gigantes Plaki is usually served as a main dish or as part of a meze platter. It’s often accompanied by crusty bread, perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce.
- Giant Beans – The star of Gigantes Plaki, these beans are cherished for their creamy texture and ability to soak up flavors. While you probably won’t be able to find the exact variety used in Greece, butter beans are a great alternative. Cannellini beans work as well.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Imparts a rich, fruity flavor and is key to the dish’s authenticity. Go with a good quality oil, please.
- Aromatics – Red onion, red bell pepper, carrots, celery and garlic.
- Tomato Paste – Gives depth and richness to the sauce.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes – The acidic and sweet backbone of the sauce. Fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced, can be used when in season.
- Oregano and Thyme – Classic Greek herbs that offer earthy and slightly sweet notes. If you have fresh available, use 1 tablespoon of fresh in place of 1 teaspoon dried.
- Red Chili Flakes – Adds a hint of heat. Adjust the amount based on desired spice level.
- Cinnamon – Often found in Greek cuisine, it adds an exotic hint.
- Fresh Parsley – Adds freshness and color.
- Bay Leaf – Imparts subtle, herbal notes. If unavailable, can be omitted.
- Feta Cheese – The final flourish at the end.
Gigantes Plaki Recipe
1. Sauté aromatics: Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and add onion, bell pepper, celery and carrot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
2. Create the tomato sauce: Add tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add crushed tomatoes along with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, red chili flakes, cinnamon, parsley and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Time for the beans: Add in buttered beans along with water, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Bake: Transfer the skillet to an oven preheated to 375°F, and bake it for 30-35 minutes, or until beans start turning a light golden brown.
5. Final touches: Discard bay leaf. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over. Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled feta cheese.
How to Use Dried Beans
If using dry beans, they must first be soaked and cooked. For this recipe, use about 1.5 cups of dried beans.
For an overnight soak, place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours to overnight.
Drain, then refill the pot with water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the soaked beans for 45 minutes. Note that they will still be firm, not fully cooked, at this point. They will continue cooking in the oven.
After this, the recipe can be followed as with canned beans except you will increase the amount of added water to 3/4 cups and the baking time will increase to about 1 hour.
We love gigantes plaki along with crusty bread and perhaps a Greek Horiatiki Salad for a light, meatless dinner.
It can also serve as a unique addition to a Mezze Platter along with pita, cheeses, olives and a variety of dips.
For more pairing inspirations, check out our collection of favorite Mediterranean Recipes.
Leftovers and Storage
These giant Greek beans make great leftovers. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stovetop over medium heat, or in the microwave, with a splash of additional water.
Crumble on some fresh feta and give the dish a drizzle of EVOO before enjoying again.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cook Beans Properly: If using dried beans, boil them until they are tender but still firm. Overcooking can make them mushy, especially during the baking process.
- Balance Tomato Acidity: If the tomato sauce is too acidic, a pinch of sugar can balance it out. Taste and adjust accordingly.
- Spice Level: Adjust the red chili flakes according to your heat preference. You can increase for more warmth or reduce it for a milder flavor.
- Resting Time: Let the dish rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows the flavors to meld together better.
- Fresh Toppings: Add fresh herbs and feta cheese right before serving to maintain their fresh flavor and texture.
- Serving Temperature: While typically served warm, Gigantes plaki can also be enjoyed at room temperature, making it a great option for picnics or potlucks.
Give your taste buds an authentic Greek experience with this Gigantes Plaki recipes. It’s the perfect example of simple ingredients coming together to create magic.
Pin or bookmark this easy recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you.
For more easy weeknight dinners, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…
Gigantes Plaki, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (15-ounce) cans butter beans, drained (see note 1 if using dried beans)
- ¼ cup water
- feta cheese, for garnish
- crusty bread to serve
- Pre-heat the oven at 375°F.
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and add onion, bell pepper, celery and carrot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add crushed tomatoes along with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, red chili flakes, cinnamon, parsley and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in buttered beans along with water and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to oven and bake it for 30-35 minutes, or until beans start turning a light golden brown.
- Discard bay leaf. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over. Garnish with fresh parsley, feta cheese and serve with warm crusty bread.
- If using dry beans, they must first be soaked and cooked. For this recipe, use about 1.5 cups of dried beans. Place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours to overnight. Drain, then refill the pot with water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the soaked beans for 45 minutes. Note that they will still be firm, not fully cooked, at this point. They will continue cooking in the oven. After this, the recipe can be followed as with canned beans except you will increase the amount of added water to 3/4 cups and the baking time will increase to 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 296Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 6mgSodium 435mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 8gSugar 15gProtein 8g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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