Meatless Monday: Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Bean Casserole)

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I’m not really sure that “baked bean casserole” is the best translation of this dish, but it’s the best I could come up with!  Gigantes (pronounced yee-gahn-dess) are a staple in Greek households, especially during lent. They are giant beans (no…really) baked in a tomato sauce until they soak up most of the sauce and then form a nice crispy top. Like nearly all Greek food, the dish is very comforting and homey. It’s  nothing show-stopping or fancy, but it’s a simple, delicious dish. Unless you have a Greek grocery nearby, chances are you won’t actually find gigantes, which look like this. (See?  Giant!)

However, large butter beans or lima beans are a good fit with this dish.

Like all dried bean dishes, this does take a bit of time to cook.  But, the active prep time is minimal, so it’s certainly nothing labor-intensive.  You just need to plan out when you’re going to make it since it will take about 3 hours to make that day, and you also need to soak the beans overnight beforehand.

I’m sure you’re SHOCKED to see that I made these in a cast iron skillet, right? 🙂 It’s really a great vessel because I used it to make the tomato sauce, which meant I could just add the beans right in and not worry about moving everything to a separate baking dish. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes in this, but it’s not quite tomato season yet so I opted not to. Of course, I still threw some on the Greek salad on the side.  Oh tomatoes, I wish I could quit you (in the winter).  I happened to have half a leftover bell pepper so I threw that in here as well.  I liked the addition but it’s certainly not a requirement or a traditional ingredient.  Feel free to adapt this to your tastes!

Meatless Monday: Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Bean Casserole)

  • I am always on the search for more bean recipes and bonus if it includes new beans! I have seen recipes like this and must try it out soon. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • So funniest coincidence EVER but I made these this weekend as well! And am posting them today! Great minds think alike chica! I loved them, but since mine are likely nowhere near as authentic as yours I’d LOVE to give yours a try!

  • this looks so superdelicious,..

  • Elly, love the dish and it’s indeed filling – great for a meat-free day. Your recipe is similar to mine which means…it’s delish!

  • This is one of my most favourite Greek vegie dishes…gigantes are def comfort food…and they really are giant sized beans!

  • I will have to keep my eyes open for gigantes Elly. I may have seen them canned at our Mediterranean Market.

  • Oh Elly, this looks incredible! I’m thinking I’ll make it this weekend before it gets too darn hot to run the oven for that long. (And yes, I realize how annoying this comment is to you. My apologies.)

  • You’ve totally brought me back to Greece with these! This was a dish I really enjoyed there.

  • That’s the best looking version of that dish that I’ve seen. It’s obvious all the ingredients really melded together.

  • I have never seen giant beans, but I’m going to keep an eye out now – this dish looks like something we’d really love.

  • This looks so good! I might have to sub some different beans though, I’ve never seen giant ones like that 🙂 I love that you made it in a cast iron skillet as well, I’m always looking for new things to make in mine.

  • Ivy

    This is surely one of my favourite dishes but lately I have been using the Greek black giant beans from Kozani, which are even better in taste.

  • wow! looks amazing, i love the gigandes from my local greek place and this looks better!

  • this looks delish!

  • Beth Anne

    This was a really tasty dish. Thanks for posting! In the future I would use less dill because that flavor was too strong for my taste, but again, it was an excellent meal. I had no idea lima beans could be so tasty!

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  • JB

    I made your recipe for the first time a few years back and then lost it and refound it on Pinterest. SO GLAD! I love this dish in my cast iron in the winter.

    • elly

      So happy to hear that JB!