Friday, March 25, 2011

Grilled Vegetables with Walnut & White Bean Puree

I don't know what drew me to this recipe in the first place.  It's not the most inspiring sounding thing, and it's not that pretty (really hard to get a flattering picture).  But it called out to me and I tried it.  Instantly it became one of my favorite meals.  I could eat solely this for dinner (and did last night), and then eat it for lunch the next day (got it in tow), and the day after that (looking forward to it).  It is really satisfying and wholesome.  The grilled vegetables are doused in a garlicky balsamic dressing and then tossed with fresh mint.  Enjoyed with the creamy, nutty, albeit ugly puree, it's a real sensation with me.

Grilled Vegetables with Walnut & White Bean Puree
Origin: Adapted slightly from StoneSoup

Notes: During the long winter months I use a grill pan to grill the vegetables.  It is so easy, especially for the onions as nothing falls through the grill.  I grill the peppers first, then grill the onions, then the zucchini and add each vegetable to the dressing as they are cooked.


Grilled Vegetables
4 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4 strips
2 red peppers (or yellow/orange), deseeded and sliced into wide strips
2 red onions, sliced into 3/4 inch rounds (or half moons)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped

Walnut & White Bean Puree
200g walnuts (I use about 2 cups)
1 400g can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed (I use a 19oz can)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons water, or to taste
pita bread for serving (optional)

To make the vegetables, preheat a BBQ or grill pan. Toss the vegetables with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. BBQ vegetables over a high heat until each is cooked to your liking. 
Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, garlic and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl and season with a little salt and pepper.  As each vegetable is cooked add it to the dressing bowl. When all vegetables are cooked, toss gently and allow to stand for a few minutes to soak up the dressing. Toss through the mint leaves.

To make the Walnut & White Bean Puree, process the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients except water and continue to whiz until you have a smooth paste. Gradually add water until the puree is smooth and the consistency is to your liking. Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve the grilled vegetables with dollops of the puree and serve with some pita bread (if using).  Serves 4.

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