I spent the first 3 years of my life in Greece- I was actually born in Athens (not Greek, I just happened to be conceived there 😀 )
And while I can barely remember a thing from my time there, it’s undeniable that flavour profiles of Greek cuisine remind me of what I grew up on: Middle Eastern foods. Similar, yet different, as confirmed during my various trips to the country & its islands.
One of my favourite Greek dishes, that happens to be naturally vegan, is Gigantes plaki. As you can see, gigantes is similar to “giant/gigantic”- referring to the “giant beans”, that are baked until incredibly flavourful in the oven.
Traditional recipes call for a generous amount of olive oil- which you can include if you’d like. This recipe however is oil-free as I’m currently WSLF (whole starch, low fat). Enjoy this at room temperature- but it will taste even better the next day when all the flavours have seeped in. I find.
Note that there are a lot of variations around this dish- I’ve seen people include different herbs and things like potatoes…or even cabbage in here! But the base recipe is somewhat the same.
Great way to get your protein, fiber & iron in too- by the way!
- 2 cans cooked Lima beans (aka butter beans)*
- 1 generous tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large can tomato sauce (without added herbs, or make it yourself)
- Garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 full stick celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped (optional)
- Oregano, dill OR parsley. I use dried oregano & fresh parsley here.
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- A bit of HONEY* or AGAVE or MAPLE syrup
- 1 cup Vegetable broth*
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.
- In a large pot, add about 1/2 cup vegetable broth and turn heat on high.
- Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, cover and cook for about 5 minutes (the vegetable oil is replacing the oil here FYI). Feel free to add more veggie broth if necessary.
- Remove lid, add the beans, tomato sauce + paste.
- Also add your choice of herbs, salt, the cinnamon, drizzle of the sweetener and mix everything together. No need to really cook this part on stove top- buy you can just mix everything in that pot to capture full flavours.
- Now transfer this to an oven resistant pan/mould. Top off with a bit more water if needed. It shouldn’t be too dry nor too wet of a mixture– but keep in mind that the waters will cook off in the oven. So, not too wet and not too dry!
- Cover with aluminum and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove the foil and switch to a LOW broil (grill) for 10 minutes. If you do this on HIGH broil- YOU WILL BURN THE BEANS!!!
- Remove, top off with some freshly chopped parsley and enjoy!!!
* Honey is a super debatable vegan ingredient. I think no one has quite determined if its really vegan or not- so please use what your conscious is comfortable with.
* There are a lot of low-sodium, MSG free, chicken-free vegetable broths out there (usually come in a carton). Look for the Pacific, Imagine or Better than Bouillon products. If you’re NOT vegan, this does not apply to you and you can use whatever broth you want.
* Obviously, you can also cook your beans from scratch. I’m just trying to keep my recipes user friendly when possible 🙂