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Gigantes Plaki with Feta

One of the first things I remember cooking all by myself for my parents while they were working outside in the garden one weekend was gigantes, a big dish of Greek butter beans in a cinnamon-spiked tomato sauce, baked to bubbly perfection. Here, I’ve transformed that baked pan of beans into a simple stovetop supper, piled into warm bowls with crumbled feta and handfuls of basil, and perhaps with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • splash of light oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g (10oz) tinned or jarred butter beans (about 1½ tins, drained weight)
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) vegetable stock or water
  • 60g (2¼oz) feta
  • small handful of fresh basil, flat leaf parsley or fresh oregano
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Peel and finely chop the onion, add to the pan with the sea salt and gently fry for 5 minutes or so until soft and just starting to brown. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves and add them to the pan, frying for a further minute until they’re soft and aromatic, but not yet starting to colour.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon and tomato purée and fry for a further minute.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, butter beans (drained and rinsed), sugar and dried herbs. Use the 60ml (4 tablespoons) water or vegetable stock to wash any excess tomato goodness from the tin and add that to the pan too. Season well with black pepper.
  4. Turn up the heat to bring the beans to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If the sauce looks a little dry, add a little more stock and water.
  5. Check to see if you want to add any more salt or pepper before serving in warm bowls with the crumbled feta and the basil, parsley or fresh oregano – you might want to roughly chop the latter pair – sprinkled over the top.

Recipe extracted from One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish