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
Author: OliveTomato.com
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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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77 Comments

  • 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!
    Thanks

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

      Pam, they taste better the day after.

  • Reply Belinda February 15, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Excellent..as a Scottish woman married to a Greek .. living in Athens with four children…your recipes have been a treat..thank you…

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

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

  • 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 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 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 KEITH AMBLER May 30, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I have been ( bean) growing these Gigantic Greek beans for several years and bought my first bean seeds from the Real Seed Co. in Pembroke. When you harvest them you keep the biggest 20 or 30 beans to replant and dry them on top of the central heating boiler. Use a metal tray with some kitchen roll or an old cloth so that there is not too much direct heat. The drying time is about 3 to 5 days. Keep the seeds in thick envelopes in a dry cool dark place for the next spring . Treat the bean plants as you would runner beans. i.e. they are susceptible to frost . Start them inside or in a greenhouse and plant out at the end of May or early June. Harvest the beans around the end of September when the pods have turned brown.
    It is an immensely rewarding experience to grow your own food and then cook and eat it with friends and family.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 31, 2017 at 5:35 am

      Thank you for sharing! I agree it is wonderful to able to grow your own food

  • 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 Victoria April 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    BEST DISH I”VE EVER MADE!!!!

  • Reply VANITHA RIGATOS February 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I love your site and recipes. I am cooking more medditaran Greek foods now and feel healthier. Thank you so much for your time

  • Reply Ellen Nordal December 3, 2016 at 1:29 am

    When I soak the beans I get partially separated skins that look and feel like stiff plastic. It takes a lot of time rubbing and sifting to try to get them all out. I do not see mention of the skins in your recipe, do you usually just leave them in the dish?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 3, 2016 at 7:25 am

      After you boil them, drain and rinse and you can remove any skins at that point.

  • Reply Lorene June 11, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    I would like to” can” or pressure can this recipe . Has anyone ever tried to do so?
    Tender Greek Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce –Gigantes Plaki

  • Reply Maria March 9, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Elena, this recipe is delicious! I think it is the third time I’ve made it and this was the best ever. I used two sweet onions and cooked them over low heat while the beans cooked. I order dried gigantes from an online Greek store since we don’t have a Mediterranean grocery store in my town.

    I really love your website. I have made many of your recipes and each has been exactly the way we enjoy eating in our home. Thank you so much for the time and care you put into your posts.

    By the way, I have the identical bowl that you show in the second picture (the white one with the handle). It’s been in our family since I was a little kid!

  • Reply Jillian February 21, 2016 at 5:10 am

    These beans are SO delicious! I made them a few weeks ago and meant to say so…but I’m making them again today. Going to use some smaller white beans as I have them on hand, and the big ones are rather pricey here in Japan. They flavors are simple but great, so I’m sure they’ll still turn out great.
    Thanks for your delicious recipes!!

  • Reply Kara January 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Hello! I have recently stumbled across your site and am a huge fan so far! If you were going to serve this as a main dish, what would you recommend to go with it?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN February 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Kara, I would serve this with cheese (feta), bread and it would also go well with cured or fresh sardines or anchovies. Or yu could a pita (pie) like spinach pie or cheese pi.

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