Beans, Entree, Lathera (Greek Vegetable Casseroles), Mediterranean Diet Recipes, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian

Gigantes Plaki – Tender Greek Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce

June 28, 2013

Gigantes Greek Roasted BeansThis is a dish that really exemplifies the wisdom of Greek-Mediterranean cuisine. Beans were one of the main ingredients in the traditional Mediterranean diet, particularly for Greeks who due to the long periods of religious fasting (over 200 days a year) that prohibited most animal products, beans were the main source of protein. As a result, Greek cuisine has several bean dishes as main courses. One of them is known as Gigantes Plaki. Gigantes are a type of large white bean, the word gigantas in Greek means giant. Gigantes from several areas of Greece have a Protected Geographical Indication status due to the unique environment that these beans are grown in. If you can find these beans it is worth a try otherwise butter beans wil work.

This recipe combines beans which are of course a great source of protein, antioxidants and fiber, while the addition of tomato not only makes them tastier but the vitamin C in the tomato helps increase the absorption of iron from the beans. Plaki refers to the method of cooking which means basically baking in the oven with a sauce made with tomato, onion, garlic and parsley.

The recipe is easy and even though the cooking time is somewhat long, active prep time is very short. You basically soak the beans in water overnight, boil them, prepare an easy sauce, mix everything together and bake.

This is a delicious dish that is more recently served as an appetizer to accompany an ouzo or other drinks, but it is a complete meal and it is vegan. If you eat dairy it goes wonderfully with feta and the always present, slice of bread.

Gigantes Plaki

Gigantes Plaki - Tender Greek Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Luscious, tender baked beans in a tomato-herb sauce. A traditional Greek dish bursting with flavor and nutrients.
Course: Entree, main
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: Greek Roasted Beans
Servings: 4
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
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  • 1 pound Gigantes or butter beans (soak them in water overnight)
  • 2 to matoes grated or diced or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with a bit of water
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Soak the beans overnight, the longer, the better.
  • Preheat oven at 350 Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  • Drain and rinse the beans and boil in water for about 40 minutes to an hour, until they are soft but not mushy. Make sure you boil them enough; otherwise the beans will be too hard to eat even after baking.
  • In the meantime prepare the sauce. Sauté the onion in a bit of olive on low heat until soft and add the garlic cloves whole. If you want a stronger garlic flavor you can mince the garlic.
  • Add the tomato (this time I used cherry tomatoes that I cut in thin slices, but the traditional way is grating the tomato), the tomato paste, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and about ¼ cup olive oil. Let it simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  • Once the beans have boiled, drain them and put them back into the pot, add the sauce and mix gently. Pour the mixture in a pan and spread evenly and then pour about another ¼ cup olive oil over the beans and bake for about 40 minutes until beans are tender.
  • Accompany with feta cheese and bread.
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Greek Roasted Beas Gigantes Plaki

Photos by Elena Paravantes

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  • Reply Victoria April 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm


    • Reply Elena April 7, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Thanks Victoria!

  • Reply Cheryl May 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    You can order dried beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa, Ca. They carry several types of white beans. This is only place I order beans from. Also, I love your website!!

  • Reply Gail Wilkins August 17, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I added 1 piece of star anise to simmer and this recipe came alive like you wouldn’t believe! Give it a try 😉

    • Reply Elena August 25, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Thanks for the tip Gail!

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  • Reply Derek January 7, 2018 at 12:02 am

    All I could find at my local market was canned butter beans. With canned beans, do you still go through the soaking overnight and boiling process?

  • Reply The Authentic Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan and Menu October 6, 2018 at 6:22 am

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  • Reply Connie January 18, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Elena,

    First timer to one of your recipes. This looks delicious and will be trying. I just have a few questions before beginning.
    Have you ever used canned tomatoes? If so, would it be the 14.5 oz can? The recipe calls for 3/4 c olive oil. I only account for 1/2 c, specifically in steps 5 and 6. When you first sauté the onions, is the “bit” of olive oil referred to the other 1/4 c?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 18, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Connie,
      Yes, the other 1/4 cup olive oil is in step 4 where you saute the onion, you can use a bit less if you wish. Generally the olive oil is added liberally in this dish.
      Canned tomatoes are fine, I use them in many other recipes and they would work well.

  • Reply Thalia January 19, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Elena – when using canned tomatoes, how many ounces or cups should I use?

  • Reply Pam April 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Can this be prepared in advance and baked the next day? I have made these three times. Delicious!

    • Reply Anastasia September 30, 2019 at 3:12 am

      Pam, they taste better the day after.

  • Reply Paula MacRae June 23, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    I order Gigantes from a company in California—Rancho Gordo. Always good dried beans.

  • Reply James August 11, 2019 at 11:28 am

    “The Best Book of Greek Cookery” by Chrissa Paradissis is known as the bible of Greek recipes. But your Gigantes Plaki is so much better than hers. Every dish I’ve cooked from your website so far has been outstanding. And healthy! I lived with my parents in Kifissia as a small child and it’s great to experience all the amazing food at home now in Hong Kong.

  • Reply Marcia November 7, 2019 at 3:57 am

    I made this tonight and, as with every other recipe I have made from this website (which is quite a few!), this was delicious!! I look forward to cooking every night now that I have found this website :-). Thank you Elena!

  • Reply 21 Day Mediterranean Diet Challenge Day #20 | Olive Tomato January 23, 2021 at 3:10 pm

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