Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Middle Easterny Vegetable Stack with Cannellini Bean Mash and Polenta

Though a bit of preparation is involved in this dish, but it's easy preparation and fairly pleasant as well. It's great for a healthy weeknight dinner! Serves two.


  • A bunch of polenta, prepared

For the vegetables:

  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1/8 of a pumpkin
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander (ground)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt
  • pepper

For the beans:

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 2 small cloves or 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup liquid vegetable stock
  • a tbsp or so of olive oil

First, follow the directions on the pack to make the polenta, using half a cup of the dried stuff. When cooked, pour into your favourite vessel and spread it around the until it is even on top. (I used a bread tin) When it has stopped steaming, put it in the fridge and forget about it for awhile.

To make the vegetables, slice the pumpkin into large squares or triangles, the eggplant and onion into large circles and the zucchini into long strips. Leave the mushrooms whole. Place all on a baking sheet in one layer. Lightly salt. Next, make up a solution of the olive oil and the coriander, cumin and chili powder. Brush onto all the veggies and put your tray(s) in the oven. Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes to an hour. The zucchinis need only around 20 minutes. While your veggies are cooking, make the beans.


These beans are modeled after the beans served at A Minor Place. They may look simple, but they are awesome! First, drain and rinse your cannellini or white beans. Put them into a medium-sized saucepan and add the vegetable stock, garlic and olive oil. Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, mashing with a fork every ten minutes or so. They are done when they are the consistency of guacamole - not pureed, but nice and soft and mashed. If they're too liquidy, continue to cook and mash until they thicken up.

Get your polenta from the fridge and slice. Fry the slices in a frypan with a bit of spray oil (and flip!) until they are nice and crispy on both sides.

When your veggies are cooked, assemble your plate. Stack your veggies with the mushroom on the bottom (I hid my zucchini because I cooked them too long and they lost their beautiful green colour!), make a pile of white beans with a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sumac. Throw the polenta on the plate and you're ready to go.


Garnish with a handful of rocket leaves if you have some. I served mine with a wedge of lemon and side of oven-roasted cherry tomato halves with olive oil and balsamic, for a bit of extra acidity.

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