Tomato Baked White Beans with Feta and Lemon Parsley Oil
This twist on the Greek dish Gigantes Plaki makes a tasty appetizer or cozy vegetarian meal. Serve with a bit of bread or toast to push the sauce around. Sometimes I like to add half a jar or so of drained, pitted kalamata olives along with the feta for a little extra kick.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings
- 1 cup (165 g) dry large white beans such as cannellini, giant, or butter beans, soaked in cool water 8 hours or overnight
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Tomato Sauce + Cheese:
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups (28 ounces / 790 g) canned or jarred diced tomatoes (such as Jovial brand)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 ounces (170 g) feta, in large crumbles (1 ½ cups)
- Leaves from ½ bunch parsley
- zest and juice of ½ large lemon
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Make the beans:
Place the soaked, drained beans in a large saucepan and cover with 4 inches of water. Add the bay leaf and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a simmer, cover the pot partially, and simmer the beans until nearly tender; this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the size and dryness of the beans. Add the salt and continue cooking until the beans are very tender but still holding a shape. Let cool in their liquid until needed. The beans can be stored, refrigerated airtight, for up to 1 week. When ready to use, drain well and remove the bay leaf.
Make the tomato sauce:
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Have a ceramic or glass baking vessel at the ready; I use an oval gratin dish measuring 9x13 inches; a 10-inch round pan or 9-inch square would work, or anything equivalent.
In a wide, non-reactive skillet (steel or enamel so as not to affect the flavor of the tomatoes), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and saucy, 10 minutes.
Scrape the sauce into the pan and add the drained beans, tossing them to coat. Dot with the feta, pressing it into the sauce, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake the beans until bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 25-35 minutes.
Make the parsley oil:
While the beans bake, place the parsley, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and salt in a blender or small food processor. Puree smooth. The parsley oil can be kept refrigerated airtight for up to several days.
When the beans are baked, drizzle with some of the parsley oil and serve. Leftovers reheat well in a 350ºF oven for 10 or so minutes.
If you need Plaki right away, feel free to make this with beans from a jar or can; you'll need 2 1/2 cups drained beans. Otherwise, begin soaking your beans the night before you plan to make this. The beans, sauce, and parsley oil can all be made up to several days ahead if you like.
Nutritional values are based on one of four servings.
Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 1465mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 30.9mg | Calcium: 330mg | Iron: 3.8mg