This delicious dish of Greek giant beans (Gigantes plaki) is the national dish of Greece. Naturally vegan, full of vitamins (see below) and a healthy addition to either lunch or dinner as a side dish enjoyed with fish or meat, or as the main event itself (!) with chunky sesame bread, salty black olives and a feta-laden Greek salad on the side!
A combination of humungous beans (when my boys were little, they would refer to them as Jack’s Beans from Jack and the Beanstalk whenever they saw them soaking in a bowl overnight) with a chunky tomato sauce and lashings of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, making this a crowd-pleaser, even for little ones!
If you can’t find the giant beans, use Haricot Beans.
They will honestly change the way you think of beans!
Full of fibre and protein as well as phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B1. They are also low GI (low glycemic index) so help keep your blood sugar steady and leave you feeling full for longer.
Get these beans in your life right now!
The way I make them is the easiest, simplest and quickest way. Let me know if you try it!
500g giant gigantes beans (you can find these in Continental/ World Stores and some supermarkets)
1/2 cup (125 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
400g (1x) tinned chopped tomatoes
1 large tablespoon tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly squeezed lemon, chopped parsley and drizzle of olive oil to garnish
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare the giant beans overnight in cold water allowing them to soak (and believe it or not, expand a little more).
Strain the water through a colander then add to a large pan of cold water to par cook the beans. The beans should be covered in water. Place on a medium heat until the beans reach boiling point. Once they are bubbling, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes until they soften but are not cooked through. Drain the water and set the beans aside.
In another large pan, add some olive oil to cover the base and on a medium heat, fry the onions, celery and carrots (until the onions are golden brown). Add the garlic next as this cooks the quickest. Cook until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, puree and oregano and pour a little more olive oil in and stir. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, place the beans back in, add water so the beans are covered, add salt and pepper, lower the heat and cook for a further 30 minutes until the beans are soft. Place a fork through to test the beans are soft as the cooking time varies and they might need longer.
Season with more salt and pepper, squeeze some lemon over and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
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