Do you like beans? If you nodded yes to yourself then you are at the right place. Butter beans or also known as Lima beans are a 100% tastier than plain white beans. They are bigger in size that's why we call them "Gigantes" in Greek which means Giants.
Dried For A Better Taste
We almost always prefer them in their dried white form instead of the fresh green ones. They are much tastier but they also require a bit of extra preparation (soaking before cooking) they totally worth it though.
These creamy-textured beans with their buttery flavor are also packed with nutrients providing us with so many health benefits.
They are rich in high-quality protein as well as soluble fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol. They also contain insoluble fiber, which helps to prevent constipation and digestive disorders.
The Greek Butter Beans Recipe
As for the cooking method, the Greek "Plaki" refers to food being baked in tomato sauce. Like in this delicious butter beans recipe with tomato sauce and lots of fresh herbs. To make them I first soak them 1 day before cooking. Then boil them in a large stockpot (they need their space to boil). In the same pot, you make the sauce and then finish off by baking everything in a large 11x15 inch baking pan (which I also use for making Moussaka).
Most people like to top them with some crumbled feta cheese but what I personally love to have them with and truly recommend you should try is to serve them along with some Kalamata olives or fried pieces of spicy Greek sausage it's a match made in heaven.
Here are two Greek labels of Giant Beans that are flavorful and tender. The first one is the one I use most of the time.
SERVE WITH ⬇
Beans and Greek sausage is one of the best combinations ever. This saucy Spetsofai (Greek sausage with peppers in sauce) is just the perfect side dish to Baked butter beans.
Greek Butter Beans Recipe (Gigantes Plaki)
- 500 grams /17.6 oz dry butter beans (Lima beans)
- 12 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 small onion minced
- 2 small carrots cut in slices
- 2-3 large garlic cloves chopped
- 1 stick of celery without the leaves finely chopped
- 1 large ripe tomato finely chopped or 150 grams canned diced tomatoes
- 65 grams / 2.2 oz tomato paste
- ⅔ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or dry instead
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 bay leaf
Soaking the beans the night before:
- Fill a large cooking pot with tepid water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and add the butter beans. Let them soak overnight.
- Drain butter beans in a strainer.
- In a large cooking pot add 3 liters of water and the butter beans. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 2 hours or until butter beans are completely soft.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute stirring with a wooden spoon for the paste to caramelize.
- Add the fresh or diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, and/or dried oregano, and sweet paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Transfer the mixture to the pot with the butter beans. Add the bay leaf and remaining olive oil.
- Raise the heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Transfer the contents of the pot to a large baking pan (about the size of the oven's tray pan) and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the sauce is thickened.
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