Gigante Plaki

Gigante Plaki

I recently went on a trip to Greece. (I’ll pause for all of the jealous sighs)

Aside from the crystal clear water, my favorite thing about Greece was the food! Mediterranean food has always been my favorite type of food. It’s so healthy but also incredibly tasty.

I ate breakfast. I ate lunch. I ate dinner.

I ate between breakfast and lunch because, “Oh look there’s a coffee shop, let’s stop in.”

I ate between lunch and dinner because, “We should stop for a glass of wine, right?”

I ate so much I started having reflux! (Presumably because my stomach was yelling at me to stop because it was full and here I was throwing more down into it!) But I couldn’t stop. It was too good.

Out of all the meals I had, and all the places we ventured into, my favorite was this cute little restaurant in Santorini. Seeing as how we were the only customers in the joint we quickly got to know the staff. I learned that Milanos was not only my server, but also the owner of this quaint little place we had stumbled into. I also learned that his “mama” was the chef. You might think that me being a single 30-something in Greece, I’d fall for a beautiful Greek God like Milanos. Instead, I fell for his mama. Why? Because she provided me with the best thing I’d ever tasted: Gigante Plaki.


“Gigante Plaki” is literally Greek for “giant beans.” I kept thinking, “How can this be the best thing I’ve ever had?! It’s just beans!” I can’t explain it—but they were. I kept ordering them wherever we went after that. Nothing quite compared to Milanos’ mama’s recipe though. I even bought some dried beans at a local farmer’s market in Nafplio to take back to NYC.


Don’t worry, I’m not delusional. In no way, can I compare to her recipe either. But I sure did try when I got back to the states! So, here’s to Milanos and his mama—my gigante plaki recipe.


1 lb gigante beans

1 tbsp olive oil + 3 tbsp reserved for baking

2 celery stalks, diced

1 small/medium onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped + 1 tbsp to garnish

2 tbsp paprika

2, 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp crumbled feta for garnish


  1. Place beans in a bowl and cover with water using a 3:1 water to bean ratio. Soak X 6-8 hrs.
  2. Place beans in a pot and cover with water, making sure to have ~3-4 inches water above the beans. Bring to a boil. Boil X ~40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°.
  4. Meanwhile, heat garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in pan until fragrant. Add onions, celery, and herbs. Cook 2-3 minutes or until tender.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook ~10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. When beans are tender, drain reserving one cup of bean water.
  7. Place beans in a casserole dish. Cover with 1 cup of bean water, 3 tbsp olive oil, and tomato mixture. Bake at 375°X 30 minutes. Stir and continue cooking an additional ~15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Plate and garnish with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.


The Cook’s 2 Cents:

  • I realize that not everyone can run over to Greece really quick to obtain gigante beans. If you’d like to try this recipe you’ve got a few options. You can purchase gigante beans on Amazon and get them shipped to you. Or, just pick up some butter beans at your local grocery store. They should work just the same.
  • The beans are done on the stovetop when you can easily crush them with a fork.
  • When boiling the beans, the water can evaporate while cooking so make sure to keep an eye on them. I needed to add more water during the cooking process.
  • A lot of recipes will say the beans don’t need to be cooked all the way through because they are then additionally baked. I found they really do need to be tender before putting them in the oven. Otherwise, the finished texture is too hard.
  • Did you forget to soak the beans overnight? That’s okay! All you need to do is boil them for longer. I tested this theory by soaking half the beans overnight and leaving the other half sans water. Two key differences: 1. The unsoaked beans need to be boild for ~90 minutes instead of 45. 2. I neded to repeatedly add water to the pot while it was boiling. But the end product tasted the same.
  • If you don’t like canned foods, you can alternatively use fresh tomatoes and just chop them really fine instead of the canned version.


Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 cup

Servings Per Recipe: 5


Calories: 367   Fat: 12g           Carbs: 25g       Fiber: 30g        Sugars: 12g     Protein: 20g    Sodium: 1670mg