Gigantes plaki is a deliciously hearty vegan dish made with giant beans, which are cooked until soft and then baked in a delicious tomato sauce until the beans absorb all the juices and caramelize.
I feel embarrassed that I have never posted this dish before. Although this is a staple dish in all Greek households and I cook it very often, I have somehow forgotten to post about it.
Fassolia (phaseolus lunatus) gigantes, meaning “giant” are similar to elephant beans, lima beans or butter beans, but if you can find Greek beans from Kozani they are the best Greek variety.
This vegetarian dish is baked in a delicious tomato sauce until the beans absorb all the juices and flavour.
How to prepare Gigantes Plaki
- As most of the legumes, soak the giant beans overnight.
- Boil them and remove any froth forming on top.
- Drain and add fresh water and cook them until soft.
- Prepare the sauce.
- Put the cooked giant beans in a “gastra*” or a Pyrex dish and pour the sauce on top.
- Cover with the lid (or an aluminium tent) and bake until they caramelize.
*The traditional way of cooking them in Greece are in a deep, round, fired clay or earthenware casserole pots, called gastra (similar to a Dutch oven).
However, they can also be cooked in any casserole dish, a sauting pan with a lid suitable for the oven, a Dutch oven, a crock-pot or even in a baking tin covered with aluminium foil.
If you ever visit Greece, this is a dish you should not miss as you can easily find it in most restaurants.
This dish can be cooked in advanced and it only improves with time. Gigantes are served as a main dish or as part of a mezze platter.
When I found out about the event Kopiaste to AWED: Greek, hosted by Experiments, Emotions, Experiences with food, and created by DK of Chef in You, I took a look at the recipes I have not posted yet and I thought this is the most characteristic Greek dish I could participate at this event.
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.
- 250 grams giant beans, preferably those of Kozani
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup stalks celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 big carrot, finely chopped
- ¼ of a big red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and blended or 500 grams passata
- 1 ½ cups water or vegetable stock (or 1 organic vegetable cube with water)
- Soak the beans in plenty of water, overnight.
- Drain and put them in a pot with fresh water and bring to a boil.
- Remove any froth forming on top, with a slotted ladle.
- Drain them again and add fresh water as well as the bay leaf and bring to a boil.
- Add salt, lower heat and simmer until almost cooked (about 1 hour and 30 minutes).
- Drain and discard the bay leaf.
- Put the beans in a a Pyrex in one layer.
- Meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until translucent.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chopped celery, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté for a few minutes
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato and mix.
- Add vegetable stock or water with a vegetable bouillon.
- Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the beans. Add more water, if necessary, to cover the beans.
- Cover the Pyrex with aluminium foil.
- Preheat the oven to 200o C / 400o F.
- Bake for about 1 hour and remove the aluminium foil and mix.
- Lower heat to 180oC and continue cooking for another half an hour, or until the beans absorb all the juices and the beans begin to caramelize.
- Serve as a main dish or as part of a mezze dish.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 226Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2002mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 5gSugar 11gProtein 5g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!