Gigantes plaki, or baked giant beans, are about as Greek and about as good as a dish can be.
There are countless variations of this classic dish and the recipe below is a family favorite. It calls for parsley, celery, oregano and mint bringing in more delicate flavors to offset the heartiness of the beans. This combination is a bit lighter, brighter and slightly sweeter in taste than other versions with dill, carrot and/or cinnamon. Truth be told though, I don’t think I’ve ever met a plate of gigantes I didn’t like!
Busy schedule? No worries – gigantes plaki can easily be made in parts or stages, I do it all the time.
Prep your gigantes (or large lima) beans up to 2 days ahead.
Make your sauce the day before.
Assemble and bake when you’re ready to enjoy – its just that easy!
Another time saver – start soaking your beans in the morning and cook them later that same day in the late afternoon or evening. Arosis brand gigantes are my very favorite but feel free to substitute any large or ford hook lima beans.
1 pound dried beans (gigantes or large lima beans)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (appx 2 medium onions)
1/3 cup chopped garlic
1 cup chopped celery (appx 2-3 stalks)
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp crushed, dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Greek olive oil
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups reserved cooking water from beans
1 cup water, room temperature
Soak dried beans overnight or at least 7 hours. Boil for 50 minutes and RESERVE 2 cups of cooking liquid before draining beans.
Saute chopped onions and celery in olive oil over medium low heat until tender. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add herbs and spices, mix to combine completely and cook for just a minute to combine flavor oils.
Add chopped tomatoes, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes. Add reserved bean cooking liquid and bring sauce up to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to bake the beans.
Layer cooked gigantes beans evenly in 9×13 baking pan and pour sauce over top. Add 1 cup room temperature water and bake, uncovered, for 2 hours in 350 degree oven. Stir approximately every half hour or so.
Allow baked beans to rest for about 15-30 minutes before serving. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of buttery white wine for a most wonderful, traditional meal.
Kiki Vagianos is The Greek Vegan! Kiki lives and cooks in Boston. She spends her free time collecting, testing and posting favorite traditional Greek lenten recipes at The Greek Vegan. She loves sharing these simple and delicious authentic dishes and helping to bring them back into kitchens throughout the Greek diaspora. Kali Orexi!