Gigantes Plaki – Tender Greek Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce

Gigantes Greek Roasted Beans

This 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.

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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
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  • 1 pound Gigantes or butter beans (soak them in water overnight)
  • 2 tomatoes 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 PAT November 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    At what point should the beans be shellled? Or isn’t that necessary?

  • Reply Clare Kalafatis October 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Just about to make this with butter beans, I’m sure it’s ging to be delicious. With feta and wine! ☺️

  • Reply susan October 12, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Greetings from Canada. I made this dish today. Thanks to your recipe it was amazing. I haven’t had this food in over 25 years and it tasted exactly how I remember eating it in Greece.


    susan c.

  • Reply Michelle October 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Depending on the area of the country (USA) you’re in, try ALDI food stores. I get Gigantes (exactly that on the label) for about $1.25 a can! I always grab 4-5 when I’m there. If you haven’t tried ALDI and you have one, DO! A German-based company and you’ll find that most of their foods are largely unadulterated…even process foods lack the stuff we’re supposed to avoid. The prices are unbelievable and THEY HAVE GIGANTES! 🙂

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 27, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Thank for sharing Michelle!

    • Reply Sandy December 18, 2014 at 12:29 am

      Not in my area Aldi markets, they’re not carrying gigantes! 🙁 They, however, are expanding their organic produce, seeing more and more organics, thankfully, so I am visiting more often. Maybe I’ll speak with managers and ask if Gignates are available. Thanks!

  • Reply Mia September 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Try to find the huge white beans (they are bigger than butter or lima beans) in turkish supermarkets or asian supermarkets..replace your italian oregano with the greek oregano…you will be closer to the authentic Gigantes than you already are with this little finetuning

  • Reply Lynn Matassa August 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I am trying this dish for the first time, I found the beans fresh at my local grocery store, when I take them out of the pod do I still have to soak them like the dried beans and boil them or can I skip those two steps and go right to baking them in oven………Thanks.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 7, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Hi Lynn,
      Since they are fresh they would probably not need soaking. But I would still boil them, perhaps for less time, until they are somewhat soft.

  • Reply Denise June 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Why is there so much olive oil

  • Reply Anonymous May 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Butter beans are good also

  • Reply Reeshiez May 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I love gigante beans as they remind me of a bean we have back home in the Middle East which is very similar. Problem is that I’m either never able to find them or when I do they are extremely expensive. What substitute would you recommend for gigante beans? Thanks

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Reeshiez, You can look for broad beans or lima beans. Or you can try the recipe by just using regular white beans too.

    • Reply Dave Aspden October 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Just grow your own. They are easy grow – just like runner bean but you leave them on the vine until they they mature.
      They are available online from Real Seeds.
      Regards Dave (Gloucester)

  • Reply Michael Petersen April 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I just put it in the oven. This makes the fifth time I have made this recipe it is absolutely delicious!!! I’ve been using your recioes since discovering your site 4 months ago, and have cooked nothing but Greek foods they are wonderful thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Hilary Hahn April 13, 2014 at 1:41 am

    This is one of my favorite recipes! I just love Greek restaurants that carry this dish:)
    Now, I will have to try making it myself at home.
    Any idea if Fava beans would work? At times i have trouble finding large white beans in California.

    • Reply john mobbs October 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      I googled greek deli and got a list of online shops that sold them. Try that. I live in the uk and I order from the Greek Deli in London

  • Reply Yanni L. April 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    The only way to really enjoy this and many other Greek foods is in the
    small back yard of a village house with vine covered pergolas. A large plate of gigantes, dolmades, feta cheese drizzled with a little oil Kalamata olives, fresh bread and a bottle of chilled retsina or ouzo, and for good measure some gentle bouzouki in the background.That’s what I am going to do a little later this year.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN April 2, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Yanni! A wonderful meal and scene indeed!

      • Reply Tracey Posner January 18, 2016 at 1:56 am

        I completely agree with that! Oh how I miss living in the Mediterranean! The picture Yanni painted in my mind took me back. I, too, as Dylan said, the only way I have been able to enjoy them until now is in the can. Not bad, but I’d MUCH rather have control over the salt that goes into it.
        I can’t tell you how excited I am to have found this recipe! I have my beans soaking now and I look forward to an amazing dish tomorrow! Feta, some fresh made dolmas, and fresh bread. I am SO back in the Mediterranean!

    • Reply Marcia November 7, 2019 at 1:09 am

      What a wonderful description! I’ll bring all of my Yanni CD’s and the chilled retsina 🙂

  • Reply Carole March 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    What a brilliant recipe. Reminiscent of Kefalonia, thanks a lot!

  • Reply Dylan February 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Awesome! The only way I’ve been able to get my fix has been those expensive little Zanae cans. This is a game changer!!!

  • Reply Rita January 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Will definately try

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