Savoury

Gigantes Plaki – Giant Greek Beans (Vegan)

Gigantes plaki is a classic Greek dish, consisting of ‘giant’ white beans cooked in a tomato sauce with lots of fresh herbs. This recipe packs a punch on the flavour side and whilst traditionally can take a long time to make, my speedy recipe will have you eating these as a quick, easy weekday meal!

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Coming from a Greek Cypriot family, it is rare to have a family meal that doesn’t consist of a meat or dairy product involved. Whilst I am not a vegan myself, I try to eat less meat by saving 1-2 days a week for a meat-free meal. This is perfect for those occasions, and even more perfect if you are vegan full time.
Whilst it is uncommon for greeks to not eat meat or dairy, it’s not uncommon that these traditional greek dishes like Gigantes Plaki are FULL of flavour and are often forgotten due to the fact it has no meat in!!

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The traditional recipe for these tend to ask for dried butter beans or traditional dried Gigantes beans, which need to be soaked overnight… who has time for that?! If you are anything like me, ideas for meals usually come to me very last minute and whilst I might have time to pop to the shop to buy extra ingredients, I don’t have time to wait a whole day for some beans to soak!

However, if you do have that kind of time, then soaking the beans is perfectly fine and actually brings out the nutrients and health benefits even more than canned beans and you can actually get a lot more dried beans for your money. For me personally, I do not see any extra benefit and honestly can’t be bothered to wait that long! GIVE ME FOOOOOD!

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Also, Gigantes beans are quite difficult to find in the UK but you might be able to find them in greek delicacy shops but they will always be dried and will need to be soaked overnight. Canned butter beans work perfectly fine for this recipe and taste just as good and save you so much time!

These beans come out super creamy, in a herby tomato sauce and go perfectly with fresh greek crusty bread! There are many variations of this dish online, usually changing how much of each herb is involved. Let your taste buds be the judge of this as its all about what your preference is. This dish is vegan so I used a vegan Feta (this one) for the top but if you are not vegan, you can use normal feta.

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Super simple, but so delicious and perfect for a meat-free Monday dish! The weather here in the UK has got much colder again so I am craving these types of dishes at the moment, what’s your favourite cozy dish?

P.s Let me know on Instagram (@merakibaking) if you made this and what your thoughts are! I would love to know 🙂


Ingredients

    This recipe serves 4
  • 3 x 400g Cans of white butter beans*
  • 2 White onions, chopped
  • 2 Large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • 2 tsp Mint
  • 2 tsp Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 300ml Vegetable stock
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato puree
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • For the topping
  • 1 Spring onion, chopped
  • 1 Fresh red chilli, chopped
  • Violife greek style block (vegan feta)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-based pan that can also go in the oven over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and cook for 7-1o minutes until softened. Then add the garlic cloves and bay leaves.
  3. Once the garlic starts to soften, add the fresh tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add in all the herbs as well as a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. After a couple of minutes, add in the canned beans and mix together and cook for around 3 minutes. Then add in the vegetable stock, tomato puree and lemon juice. Stir and taste to check seasoning levels. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes without a lid to evaporate some of the liquid.
  6. Place the lid on and into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour* until the tomato mixture has thickened and beans are soft and melting.
  7. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with spring onions, chilli and vegan feta. Enjoy!

  • I am using white butter beans as they are similar to Gigantes beans but are easier to find in store. You can also use dried beans, which need to be soaked in cold water overnight if you prefer.
  • Whilst I am slow-cooking the beans for an hour, they will be ready to eat after 30 minutes in the oven if you are running low on time. The extra half hour makes it creamy and flavours are more enhanced but it is not essential if you are time constrained.
  • As this dish is vegan friendly, I chose to use a feta replacement for the topping which is delicious and just as good as normal feta. If you are not vegan, you may choose to use normal feta instead.
  • If mixture looks too dry at the boiling stage, add more stock. Make sure you taste for seasoning as you can alter herb ratios depending on your own taste buds.

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