Karen Wright: Greek dish helps us get through Veganuary

A Greek dishe called GigantesA Greek dishe called Gigantes
A Greek dishe called Gigantes
We are over halfway through January or should I say ‘Veganuary’! I wanted to share an adaptation of one of my favourite Greek dishes called Gigantes. Gigantes is a simple meal of giant beans cooked in a savoury tomato sauce.

It can be difficult to get the huge beans that are used in Greece, so I settled for what I had in the cupboard, a tin of butter beans and a tin of cannellini beans. I used a pack of meat-free sausages and cooked them in the sauce, which is not traditional at all but I just fancied trying it out.

I think after all the overindulgence and very meat heavy food over Christmas it made a change to wind things down a little. We are recommended to reduce our meat intake and it is so easy to do, especially nowadays when there are so many products in the shops to make going vegan every now and then, or even permanently, a breeze.

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To make the dish I softened an onion in a little oil and then added garlic, a heaped tablespoon of oregano, 200ml vegetable stock, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tin of tomatoes. I brought all of this to a boil and then added the tins of beans. I cooked for about 15 minutes to reduce the volume a little and then splashed in a little red wine. Adding wine is always just optional, but I find it makes for a rich sauce. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and then poured the whole lot into a baking dish. I browned the sausages a little and then placed those into the dish with the saucy beans. I baked it in a hot oven for about 30 minutes and served it with some simple homemade flatbreads.

Speaking of vegan food, there is a vegan fair in the Ridings on Sunday 18th February, which is the weekend of Wakefield’s Rhubarb Festival. At the festival, I will be doing a cooking demo and speaking in the marquee on the Friday as well as cooking in the marquee on Saturday and Sunday morning at 11am.

However, before that I have a cruise to enjoy and a trip up to Glasgow to work at the Scottish Caravan and Motorhome Show plus the February Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC, so much to look forward to this New Year!