Greek Baked Beans and Tomato Casserole Recipe

Yigandes Plaki: Baked Bean Casserole
Yigandes Plaki: Baked Bean Casserole. Photo © Jim Stanfield
    190 min

In Greek: γίγαντες πλακί, pronounced YEE-ghahn-dess plah-KEE

Try to find original yigandes (gigantes, gigandes) beans at a Greek or ethnic market for this dish, otherwise use the biggest lima beans you can find. This dish is as popular in my home as pasta dishes... maybe more, and it is a favorite dish especially during Lent.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound of yigandes (or big lima beans), soaked for 12 hours, drained
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ripe tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped (or 16oz. of canned chopped plum tomatoes)
  • 2 small cubes of vegetable bouillon (or beef for non-vegetarians/non-vegans)
  • Sea salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups of water (1 1/2 cups if using canned tomatoes)

How to Make It

  1. Add the beans to a pot with enough cold water to cover well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).
  3. Using a wooden spoon, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  4. Add tomatoes (if using canned, add all liquid as well), bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, parsley, and water, and allow to boil gently for 10-30 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
  5. Place the beans in an oven-proof pan, add tomato mixture, stir and spread the mixture out evenly.
  6. Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft. (Check the dish during cooking and if needed, add a small amount of boiling water.) The dish will look crispy on top.
  7. Remove from the oven, cover, and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: serves 4

Serving note: Restaurants serve this as a meze (in small portions), but because of the quantity in which it's fixed unless you're planning a selection of mezether for a large gathering, it works better as a main dish.

Reheating: When using after refrigerating, allow it to come to room temperature, or heat briefly in the microwave. This dish is not served hot.