Savory Sundays: Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce}

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Тавче Гравче
Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce} via | #recipe #dinner #beans #tavcegravce
Like any true Macedonian kitchen, a weekly menu without Tavce Gravce (TAHV-cheh GRAHV-cheh), or Macedonian Style Baked Beans, does not exist. It’s a Friday staple. Most Macedonians are Christian Orthodox, thus in a traditional Macedonian home Friday night dinner is meatless.

Today’s post is part of World on a plate, a monthly blogging cultural exchange where a group of bloggers from different corners of the world get together once a month to “interpret a food through the lens of their home country cooking” on the last Sunday of the month. Each blogger will produce a dish featuring the food chosen that is typical of his or her home country and talk a bit about the dish. This month’s theme is auspicious food.

And no other food screams success and prosperity more than beans! ;-D

No, really! Beans, in some cultures, represent fortune and growth because of their shape; they look like coins and thus represent prosperity.

In the South, black-eyed peas symbolize good luck and are traditionally prepared on New Year’s Day. In other countries, beans, pomegranates, pork, among other things, act as good fortune and are eaten on New Year’s Day in hopes of a great year ahead.

Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce} via | #recipe #dinner #beans #tavcegravce
Because New Year’s Day is during Christmas Lent for those of us that follow the Julian Calendar, a traditional Macedonian household will have Tavce Gravce on the table this New Year’s Day because it is one, customary, and two, because it is meatless.

This is Macedonia’s National Dish. It is a traditional meal that dates back centuries, and its preparation method has changed ever so slightly to accommodate today’s cook. Home cooks would prepare this dish a day in advance by placing the beans in a dutch oven over wood fire to slowly cook through the night and be ready just in time for lunch the next day.

Nowadays, instead of a wood fire, we use our oven. And, instead of waiting an entire night for the meal to cook, Tavce Gravce is now done in about 2 hours. If you use canned beans, it can be done in 30 minutes! But, don’t do that. You will kill the tradition, and my ancestors will haunt me in my dreams tonight. I did that once and my Mother just about murdered me… it’s that serious. 😀

You can enjoy Tavce Gravce as a side dish to any meal, or as a meal on its own with a side-salad sprinkled with white sheep cheese or feta cheese, and a loaf of crusty bread.

Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce} via | #recipe #dinner #beans #tavcegravce

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5 from 1 vote
Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce}

Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce}

9 9 9
WW Freestyle: 6
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Baked beans made Macedonian-style, with red dried peppers and onions.
Course: Side Dish/Dinner
Cuisine: Macedonian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 290


  • 4 cups Great Northern Beans , washed and cleaned according to the directions on the package
  • Water
  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 large onion , quartered
  • 2 dried whole chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large onion , sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley

For the Roux {???}

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika


  • Place the beans in a 5-qt. or 6-qt. pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the beans.
  • Pour in the oil.
  • Add in the quartered onions and dried chili peppers
  • Cook the beans over medium-high heat until soft, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Stir often and add warm water as it evaporates. You are looking for a stew-like consistency.

Once the beans are cooked, prepare the roux. Do not remove beans from heat.

  • Slightly heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Stir in the paprika and keep stirring until just thoroughly combined and fragrant.
  • Pour the roux into the pot with the beans and stir.
  • Mix in a tablespoon of salt and continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Carefully pour the beans into a large casserole dish, a dutch oven, or a large clay pot. You don't want to pour in all the water; add enough water to barely cover the beans.
  • Place the sliced rounds of onions and the cooked chili peppers on top as garnish.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
  • Bake the beans for 30 minutes, or until a crusty layer forms on top of the beans.
  • Remove and let cool 15 minutes before serving.
  • Add chopped parsley for garnish.


You can enjoy Tavce Gravce as a side dish to any meal, or as a meal on its own with a side-salad sprinkled with white sheep cheese or feta cheese, and a loaf of crusty bread.
Nutrition Facts
Macedonian Style Baked Beans {Tavce Gravce}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 876mg37%
Potassium 426mg12%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 895IU18%
Vitamin C 3.2mg4%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Keywords: baked beans from scratch, homemade baked beans, vegan baked beans

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23 Responses
  1. Molly

    If I am working with dry beans and I have already soaked them overnight, do I cook them as per the bag’s directions, and then cook them additionally, for the amount of time specified in this recipe? Or is it that after the overnight soak, I just cook them as per the instructions here in the recipe?

  2. Claire Shephard

    I was in Veles for a while back in the late 80’s. This meal is something I could just eat and eat and eat. Now there are plenty of Eastern European shops in towns (albeit not small town, but some in Gloucester) what would you recommend I should buy here is the uk what would be similar to cashcaval cheese or the sheep’s cheese you mention. Thanks Claire

  3. Radmila Dyakov

    Thank you for this recipe! It reminded me skiing vacations in Bansko! Have you tried preparing the beans in a slowcooker?

  4. Rashida Shaikh

    The title has grabbed my attention; I was getting curious to know the recipe.
    It looks good.
    Have a wonderful year ahead!

  5. Danielle

    Just found your website and have been poring over your Macedonian recipes. Can’t wait to start using them. I lived in Skopje 2004-2006. Thank you!

  6. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    That is one tradition that I hadn´t heard before, but probably because our New Year is in the middle of summer. A good plate of beans is always good and these look fantastic! Happy New Year Katerina!

  7. Ellen

    Love it. I almost didn’t look at the post because I don’t like American-style baked beans (too sweet) but these look right upy alley:)

  8. Taking On Magazines

    Your beans look delicious. I’m honestly a little surprised to see beans in Macedonian cooking. I guess it’s because I don’t know of many Armenian dishes using them. Lentils, yes, but not beans. 🙂

    1. Pavle

      Considering that Armenia is 1,218 miles from Macedonia and there are as many similarities agriculturally between Armenia and Macedonia as there are between Sweden and Italy, I wonder why it surprises you that Macedonians use beans?

  9. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur

    I love great northern beans, and this looks like a wonderful way to prepare them. It seems so simple, and certainly delicious. Wonderful photos, too!

  10. Ramona

    What a fabulous way to eat your way through New Years!! I love beans. Wishing you a Happy and Wonderful New year 2013!!

  11. Nancy R

    Oh my! Can you believe I just had Tavce Gravce at my mother’s house this afternoon. It happened to be one of the dishes on the table.
    It certainly is a staple food which I love eating with fresh crusty bread.
    Great pics Kate. You make me want to eat it again.

    1. Kate@Diethood

      Nancy, I know what you mean…crusty bread and tavce gravce is the best! No fork needed…I will just sop it up with my loaf of homemade bread! 🙂

  12. Kristy

    Fabulous dish Kate! This is one will be using for when we get around to cooking from Macedonia for sure. I love the presentation in the iron skillet. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    1. Kate@Diethood

      Thank you, Kristy!! I hope you do get a chance to make this…it really is a delicious, comforting dish.
      Happy New Year to you and to yours!! xo

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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