Chilled Butter Bean and Grilled Vegetable ‘Moussaka’

03/07/2009 at 11:29 Leave a comment


For the last few days it has been absolutely sweltering where I live, which by the way is very unusual indeed! So, along with searching through my clothes for something that won’t stick to me as soon as I get outside, and lathering myself in suncream constantly, I have been eating a lot of cold food.  Salads of course are brilliant, but now and then I want something a bit more substantial, so here it is. This dish is good for making a day ahead as all the flavours infuse over time. Makes delicious leftovers too!


3 medium Courgettes
4 Peppers (red, yellow or orange)
1 medium Aubergine
3 or 4 small Sweet Potatoes
bunch of French Green Beans
2 tins of Butter Beans
2 tins chopped Tomatoes
1/2 cup Black Olives (roughly chopped)
2 Onions
4 Garlic Cloves
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 heaped tsp Muscovado Sugar (or Agave Nectar if you prefer)
handful fresh Basil
heaped tsp dried Oregano
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup Olive Oil
juice of half a Lemon
Salt and Pepper

How To Make
This recipe is very simple to follow but has several parts to it, so I’m going to begin with the preparation. Once you have that out the way, the rest will be easy. I should also point out that because this dish will be served cold, there is no need to stress out about doing everything at once, and keeping it all warm.


Start by peeling the sweet potatoes and chopping them into chunks, ready for boiling.

Next, remove stem from the top of the aubergine and slice length-ways as thinly as you can. Rub the slices in salt and place in a water filled bowl for about 20 minutes. (This is a general tip when cooking aubergines as it helps to remove the bitterness and stops the sponge-like flesh absorbing too much oil during cooking.)

Now slice the courgettes and peppers, again length-ways and as finely as you can.

With the green beans you want to slice them length-ways down the middle (I know this is a bit fiddly but if you follow the natural ‘seam’ they have, I think it makes it less tricky).

Finally, dice the onion and and garlic, and roughly chop the olives.

How To Cook

Begin by putting the sweet potatoes on to boil in salted water; once they are tender, drain and mash them. Don’t add any liquid or oil. You may want to add salt and pepper at this point though. Once done set aside to cool.

As for the green beans, plunge them into a boiling pot of water for about 2 or 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking. Set aside.

Place the peppers and courgettes on a baking tray and stick under the grill. When they have started to brown you will need to turn them over and do the same to the other side, so make sure to keep an eye on them while you get on with the next part.

Sliced Vegetables for Grilling

When it’s time to drain the aubergine, rinse the slices under cold running water, layer them on top of each other and give them a squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Next place on a baking tray and do as you did with the peppers and courgettes. If you like, you could drizzle olive oil over the vegetables before they are grilled.

Drain and rinse the butter beans, place in a mixing bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mash lightly, you don’t want the beans to end up being a paste, just nicely crumbled and burst out of their skins.

Once you have everything else ready, it’s time to make the sauce. Drizzle some olive oil into a medium sized saucepan, add in the onion and fry until translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

Now throw in the tomatoes, puree, and muscovado, along with the wine and stir, ensuring the onions and garlic are well dispersed.

Add the oregano, and season to taste.

Cook this down for around 20 to 30 minutes until slightly reduced, stirring frequently.

Finally stir in the roughly chopped olives and fresh basil and heat through for a minute.

Putting It All Together

Spoon the butter beans into a deep-sided, rectangular dish and spread evenly. Follow with a layer of the sauce. Using about half of what you have, make sure it is evenly spread.

Now make a layer with the grilled courgettes, followed by the peppers, and then the aubergine, layering them in opposite directions to create a cross-hatch pattern.

Layering the Grilled Vegetables

Using the last of the sauce, make another layer and smooth it over with a spatula.

Dollop the sweet potato on top, being careful not to disrupt the layers underneath, then smooth over again.

To finish off, lay the sliced beans on top of the mash to make a pattern; I chose stripes but whatever takes your fancy!

Making a Pattern with the French Green Beans

When all is complete, leave to cool, cover in foil or cling film and place in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.


Entry filed under: Chilled, Pies, Recipes. Tags: , , .

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