White beans in tomato sauce. So easy. Inspired by Greek Gigantes Plaki, this is a super simple recipe for roasted beans in tomato sauce. With the flavours of oregano and subtle smoked paprika (a Spanish touch) this recipe is so easy to make, in one pan in 45 minutes. With only 126 calories per serving, this bean and tomato stew recipe is perfect served as tapas with some crusty bread, a main meal or a side dish. Plus it’s vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free.
Gigantes Plaki – Baked White Beans in Tomato Sauce
I have an original Gigantes Plaki recipe on this blog, and I love it. It’s based on an original dish I enjoyed that last time I was in Greece. Though, it’s made with dried beans which means it take a little more planning ahead, and more time, even if you have a pressure cooker. So I decided to make a new version of this tasty recipe, but this time not quite as traditional, but a whole lot quicker. Thanks to canned “Bianchi die Spagna” in other words, organic butter beans (also known as lima beans). They can be found at a well-stocked organic food store, otherwise canned or jarred fava beans (Dicke Bohnen) can be used.
Both I would say are mild with a creamy texture. So canned beans yes. Quick. Weeknight quick. And leftovers are pretty darn tasty. For best results, I urge you to buy quality ingredients. The white beans and tomato sauce is a simple recipe that relies on good ingredients. For me, that means buying organic. If not, check the labels as some brands add sugar to the tomatoes and beans can vary in salt content.
What to serve with this White Beans in Tomato Sauce recipe?
There are a number of ways to enjoy this recipe. It is perfect on it’s own as a vegan lunch, or sprinkled with a little salty Greek feta cheese.
- You can amp up on the spinach (or add your favourite other greens!) for extra good for you vitamins.
- What I do when I enjoy it as leftovers is reheat it on the stove top, adding a splash of water if needed, more spinach at the end and serve it over a small bowl of whole wheat pasta with a sprinkle of chili flakes. Nom nom.
- Another way to enjoy it is without the spinach and add a chunk of original Greek feta to the skillet before it goes in the oven and bake it along with the beans. Oven roasted feta with tomatoes is so tasty. I especially love doing this in the summer with fresh tomatoes and adding some olives or capers to the pan. Served with some crusty bread and a glass of chilled rosé in the sun, it’s so good.
So feel free to improvise and find your favourite way to enjoy a quick and easy recipe for white beans in tomato sauce!
Simple White Beans in Tomato Sauce
A low effort, easy recipe for oven roasted white beans in tomato sauce (similar to Gigantes Plaki). Made with simple pantry items and fresh spinach this makes for a healthy and tasty weeknight meal that is suitable for vegans, vegetarians and anyone following a gluten-free diet.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 x 400 g cans organic chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet)
- Pinch chili flakes (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 x 400 g cans organic butter beans, drained and rinsed (alternatively fava beans)
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves (optional)
- flat leaf parsley, to garnish
To serve (optional):
- Crumbled feta
- Heat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet (I use a cast iron one), over medium heat. then gently cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, oregano, paprika, bay leaf, chili flakes (if using) and butter beans. Season with freshly ground black pepper plus a pinch of salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a light simmer. Note: depending on the brand of chopped tomatoes, or how saucy I want the dish, I add 2-4 tablespoons of water to the pan before bringing to a simmer.
- Once the sauce starts to simmer, transfer to the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until thickened and bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and stir in the baby spinach to wilt (about 1 minute).
- Sprinkle with parsley (and crumbled feta, if desired) and serve as a main with some crusty bread, as a side dish (served hot or cold) .
- Smoked paprika gives this dish a little bit of a Spanisch influence. If you do not have smoked paprika on hand it can be skipped. For more of a smokey flavour you can add up to ½ teaspoon more. I used sweet smoked paprika, if you like a little spice, then add hot smoked paprika. You could even use 1 teaspoon smoked paprika instead of oregano. I personally love oregano with baked white beans and tomato sauce.
- Sometimes I drizzle a little bit of my favourite olive oil over this dish before serving. I mostly like to do this if I am enjoying this with some crusty bread.
- In summer, when ripe flavourful tomatoes are in abundance you can also replace the canned tomatoes with 8 fresh tomatoes, chopped. Season them with salt to draw out the juices. Depending on how aromatic they are, you may want to add a little more tomato paste.
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