Greek Gigantes Plaki Beans
Mar 30, 2023, Updated Nov 09, 2023
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Greek Gigantes Plaki is a traditional and hearty vegetarian dish made with large white beans, cooked in a rich tomato sauce, and flavored with Mediterranean herbs and spices.
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Baked Greek Giant Beans
This classic Greek recipe is both delicious and nutritious, offering a perfect balance of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates! It’s a lenten staple for our family – we are Greek Orthodox and go fully vegan during Lent, and this dish provides a rich, hearty flavor and essential fiber, fat, and nutrients my family needs.
You can use canned beans, or start from beans that are soaked overnight and then slowly simmered with onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and a combination of herbs such as parsley, dill, and oregano. Baked in the oven until tender and flavorful, Gigantes Plaki is often served as a main course or side dish, accompanied by crusty bread or a fresh Greek salad.
This wholesome and satisfying recipe is sure to become a favorite in every home – and you can tweak it to fit your family’s preferences! Of course, this dish was prepared without meat, but you can add grilled shrimp, some crumbled chorizo, or some spicy sausage or ham in it, as well!
How to Make Gigantes Plaki
To make this recipe, you will need:
- Dried Giant White Beans (Gigantes): These beans are the star of the dish. They are large, creamy, and absorb the flavors of the other ingredients while maintaining their own nutty and hearty taste.
- Onions: Chopped onions add a sweet and savory flavor base to the dish. They become tender during cooking and contribute to the overall depth of flavor.
- Garlic: Minced garlic brings its unmistakable aroma and a robust, slightly spicy flavor that enhances the overall taste of the plaki beans.
- Celery and Carrot: Chopped celery and carrot provide a natural sweetness and a mild earthiness to the dish. They also add a pleasant texture and contribute to the overall nutritional value.
- Red Bell Pepper: The red bell pepper adds color, sweetness, and a slightly smoky flavor to the dish. It helps balance the flavors and gives the plaki beans a well-rounded taste.
- Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste: Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, along with tomato paste, create the rich, tomatoey base of the plaki. They bring acidity, sweetness, and a vibrant red color to the dish.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a staple in Greek cuisine and adds a fruity, rich, and slightly peppery flavor to the plaki beans. It also contributes to the velvety texture of the sauce.
- Dried Oregano and Thyme: These Mediterranean herbs provide a distinct aromatic and earthy flavor profile to the dish. They are classic seasonings in Greek cuisine.
- Salt and Pepper: Salt enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients, while black pepper adds a touch of mild heat and complexity.
- Water: Water is used to create the sauce and ensure that the beans cook to perfection. It helps meld all the flavors together.
Once you have assembled the ingredients, use this method
- Rinse the beans and soak them in a large bowl of water overnight.
- Drain the beans and rinse them again.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery, and carrot, and sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the chopped red bell pepper, oregano, thyme, and tomato paste. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the drained beans and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
- Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with fresh parsley or chopped fresh herbs of your choice. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Greek Gigantes Plaki & FAQs
Soak the beans overnight: Soaking the dried beans overnight helps to soften them and reduces their cooking time. Make sure to drain and rinse them before cooking.
Cook the beans until they are tender: It’s important to cook the beans until they are tender, but not too soft that they fall apart. Test the beans frequently to ensure they are cooked to your desired texture.
Use high-quality tomatoes: Tomatoes are an essential ingredient in Gigantes Plaki, so use high-quality tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes for the best flavor.
Add aromatics for extra flavor: Sautéing onions, garlic, celery, and carrots before adding the beans and tomato sauce can enhance the flavor of the dish.
Season well: Add plenty of salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme to the dish for flavor. You can adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Cover the dish while baking: Covering the baking dish with aluminum foil traps the moisture and allows the beans to cook evenly. Uncover the dish during the last 15-20 minutes of baking to allow the top to brown.
Let it rest: Allow the Gigantes Plaki to rest for at least 10 minutes after baking to allow the flavors to meld together.
Garnish with fresh herbs: Garnishing the dish with fresh herbs such as parsley or chopped fresh oregano can add extra flavor and color.
Serve with crusty bread: Gigantes Plaki is often served with crusty bread or pita to soak up the delicious sauce.
Store leftovers properly: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop, adding a little water if needed to loosen the sauce.
Gigantes beans are a type of large white bean that are commonly used in Greek cuisine. They are also known as elephant beans and have a mild flavor and creamy texture.
Yes, you can use canned beans as a shortcut, but the texture and flavor may be different. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them before adding them to the dish.
Yes, you can freeze Gigantes Plaki for up to 3 months. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Gigantes Plaki is often served with crusty bread or pita to soak up the delicious sauce. It also pairs well with a simple side salad or roasted vegetables.
Yes, you can make Gigantes Plaki in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop, adding a little water if needed to loosen the sauce.
While Gigantes Plaki is traditionally a vegetarian dish, you can add meat such as chopped chicken, pork, or sausage for extra protein and flavor. Add the meat during the sautéing step before adding the beans and tomato sauce.
Yes, you can customize the flavor of the dish by adding different herbs and spices such as rosemary, bay leaves, or smoked paprika. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
What to Serve with Greek Beans
Greek Salad: A classic Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, and olives is the perfect side dish to complement the flavors of Gigantes Plaki.
Crusty Bread: A loaf of crusty bread like no knead bread is perfect for dipping into the rich tomato sauce and soaking up all the delicious flavors.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers are a great side dish to add some extra nutrients and flavors to the meal.
Rice or Quinoa: Serving Gigantes Plaki with a side of rice pilaf or quinoa is a great way to add some extra protein and fiber to the meal.
Tzatziki Sauce: A cool and refreshing tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill is a great side dish to balance out the rich and savory flavors of Gigantes Plaki.
Try out these other Sweet C’s Greek favorites!
Greek Gigantes Plaki Beans Recipe
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- 1 pound dried Gigantes beans, soaked overnight (can substitute drained canned butter beans)
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Drain the soaked beans and rinse them under cold water. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic, diced carrots, and diced celery to the saucepan. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until everything is well combined.
- Add the drained Gigantes beans and vegetable broth to the saucepan. Stir everything together.
- Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, making sure that the beans are submerged in the liquid.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick and bubbly.
- Remove the foil from the baking dish and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
- Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Greek Gigantes Plaki!
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 265Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 0mgSodium 592mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 5g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.