This Greek beans side or main dish features creamy giant butter beans baked in a rich, flavorful tomato-based sauce. Make Gigantes Plaki soon; it’s easy, delicious and healthy!
Dried beans and other legumes like chickpeas and lentils are a staple in recipes throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa.
This is because almost all legumes are high in plant-based protein and fiber, and they're easy to incorporate into dishes for meals throughout the day. From lentils and rice for breakfast to harira soup for lunch, and sweet roasted chickpeas for a healthy afternoon snack.
Gigante Greek Beans
One native species of Greek beans is the Gigante (alternate spelling: gigande). They're large and flat, and they're white in color. They plump up a bit as they cook, taking on a creamy texture and buttery flavor.
The buttery flavor may be one reason why Gigantes are known in the U.S. as giant butter beans.
Did you know that butter beans and lima beans are the same thing?
Recipe Notes for Making Gigantes Plaki
This is a simple and straightforward vegetarian bean recipe, and most of the ingredients are basic pantry staples. I have just a couple of notes for you regarding the recipe.
- Choice of dried or cooked beans.
You have a choice of making the recipe using either dried or precooked. If you would like to use the dried variety and you’re unable to find them locally, you can purchase them online here (affiliate link).
- Plan prep work time accordingly.
If you plan to use dried legumes, plan accordingly, as the recipe will take a bit longer to prep. This is because they need to soak overnight before you can start making the recipe.
- The Greek beans can be assembled ahead of time and baked later.
This dish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in advance of baking it. So, it's perfect for serving as a side dish for a holiday meal, and it makes a fantastic take and bake meal for a sick friend or new parents.
For longer storage (up to 3 months), it can be frozen, either baked or unbaked! Just be sure to transfer it to a refrigerator and allow it to thaw completely before you bake or reheat it.
There are 331 calories in a ½ cup serving of the dish. If you plan to serve it as a vegetarian main dish, you'll probably want larger portion sizes, so the calories will be higher.
In the United States, this variety of Greek beans are called giant butter beans or giant lima beans. If you're unable to find the giant variety you can use the standard size.
More recipes for Mediterranean and Greek beans
There are many varieties of dried beans, and endless ways to make healthy dinners using them, too.
Dishes like Turkish piyaz and this navy beans recipe are favorites because they are great as a healthy side or a meatless main dish.
Regardless of the variety or the recipe you use, incorporating legumes into your meal plan is a delicious and healthy choice!
Greek Beans (Gigantes Plaki)
- 1 lb dried gigantes beans (See Note 1)
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
- ½ cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup water
- ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Place the dried beans in a deep bowl and cover with cool water by 2 inches. Cover the bowl with a light kitchen towel and all the Greek beans to soak overnight.
- After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. Place in a stockpot with enough water to cover them by an inch and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Transfer the beans into a large mixing bowl along with tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, herbs, spices, olive oil and water. Stir to combine.
- Pour into a 9x13" baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 90 minutes. Remove the foil and cook, uncovered, another 30 minutes.
- Stir, then serve with crumbled feta cheese on top (or stirred in) and chopped parsley for garnish.
- Gigante beans are giant butter beans (also known as giant lima beans). You can substitute with traditional sized dry lima or butter beans if you wish. If you use precooked beans rather than dried, start with step 3 of the recipe instructions.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.