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Greek-Style Baked White Beans in Tomato Sauce

6 Servings

1¾ hours 30 minutes active, plus soaking and cooling

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Gigantes plaki, or gigante beans baked in tomato sauce, is a Greek classic. The delicious version we tasted at Manousakis Winery on the island of Crete had us eager to re-create the dish ourselves. But we quickly learned that dried gigante beans, a type of large, white runner bean—they are not lima beans, contrary to what some sources say—are not widely available in the U.S. We discovered that great northern beans, though smaller, are an excellent alternative. (We prefer them over cannellini beans, which are slightly larger but have a tendency to cook unevenly and break down even if just slightly overdone.) If you are able to source dried gigante beans, they will require at least 50 minutes of covered cooking in the Dutch oven to become tender, and even when fully cooked, will have a firmer texture than great northerns. This is a multi-step recipe but requires minimal hands-on time. First, the soaked beans are simmered in a pot in the oven until tender; meanwhile, a rich tomato sauce is cooked on the stovetop. The two then are combined and finished in the oven, where the flavors deepen and concentrate.




Don’t try to take a shortcut by quick-soaking the beans. For even cooking and the best texture, the beans need to soak for at least 12 hours at room temperature prior to cooking. Don’t forget to add the salt to the soaking water, which helps produce more tender beans.

1¾ hours

30 minutes active, plus soaking and cooling


  • 1

    pound dried great northern beans

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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September 25, 2022
Got to love a bean!
I have this cooking now. It smells amazing. Also THANK YOU Sam for saying gigantes properly. [heart]
B A.
December 19, 2023
Delicious, but labor intensive
We enjoyed this very much, but grating all those vegetables on a box grater was time consuming. (We doubled the recipe.) Is there any reason why we can't use the grating disc of our food processor?
Kelly B.

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Catherine G.

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WOW absolutely phenomenal. I used Rancho Gordo lima beans and they were tender and delicious. I toasted some panko with olive oil and sprinkled them over for some crunch. The next day I added a fried egg on top for breakfast and i was in heaven.