Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

We use corona beans in this terrific main/side – but any white bean will work

Nothing brings out savor like roasting. Today we’re applying its magic to white beans and eggplant. With some spicy tomato sauce to liven things up.

We like to serve this dish as a main course (if you go that route, you might also want to add a salad and/or some crusty bread). But it also makes an excellent side dish.

However you serve it, we suggest adding a glass of wine. Just so you can offer a proper toast: Buon appetito!

Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

Recipe: Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

We love roast veggies (see, for example, our recipe for Roast Eggplant). We also like roast beans (particularly white beans), which become brown and crisp — even crusty  — in the oven. We've never posted about them, though. So we're remedying that oversight today.

Our recipe combines white beans with eggplant and tomatoes, creating a dish that's kinda sort like a bean version of Pasta alla Norma.

There are two steps to this recipe: Roasting the white beans and eggplant (which you can do together on a sheet pan). And preparing the tomato sauce, which can cook while you’re roasting.

We like to use corona beans in this dish (if you don’t know about them, see our recipe for Italian Corona Bean Salad). But cannellini or great northern beans would be a dandy substitute. Or use any other bean that sounds good to you – it’s always fun to play with your food.

Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes. Cooking time adds another 25 minutes or so.

This recipe yields 2 to 3 hearty main-course servings, or about 6 side-dish servings.

Ingredients   

For the roast white beans and eggplant:

  • ~2 cups cooked white beans
  • ~1 pound eggplant, cut into dice of about 1 inch
  • olive oil to taste (a couple of tablespoons)
  • salt to taste (maybe 2 teaspoons kosher salt; see Notes)
  • black pepper to taste (a dozen or so grinds for us; to taste)

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • ½ cup onion, diced or thinly sliced
  • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or thinly sliced (to taste)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste)
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • a handful of basil, minced
  • extra basil for garnish (optional)

Procedure

  1. First, roast the white beans and eggplant: Preheat the oven on to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (to make cleanup easier). Toss the white beans with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread the beans out over half of the sheet pan (spacing them so they’re not touching). Now toss the diced eggplant with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread the eggplant pieces out on the other half of the sheet pan (again, spacing them so they’re not touching). 
  2. Place the sheet pan in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn the beans and eggplant, then roast for another 10 minutes (or more to taste; do make sure the interior of the eggplant is fully cooked – see Notes). When done, remove the sheet pan from the oven. 
  3. While the beans and eggplant are roasting, prepare the tomato sauce: Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is heated (about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onion. Season to taste with salt. Sauté until the onion is translucent (5 minutes or a bit more). Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the red pepper flakes and the thyme, stirring them in to mix. Then add the tomatoes and stir to mix. Simmer the sauce until the beans and eggplant are done.
  4. Add the roasted beans and eggplant to the tomato mixture. Stir to combine, then simmer for about 5 minutes so the flavors can mingle.
  5. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the chopped basil, then stir to combine. 
  6. Serve, adding extra basil for garnish if you wish.
Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

Notes

  • You can roast the beans and eggplant hours ahead of time if you wish. Then just add them to the tomato sauce near the end of cooking (to warm them and let their flavors mingle with the tomatoes).
  • The tomato sauce cooks quickly – no long simmering needed. We always prepare it while the beans and eggplant are roasting.
  • BTW, if you have homemade tomato sauce on hand (or a good-quality commercial one in the pantry), you could substitute that for our sauce. Use about 1½ cups, maybe two.
  • Exact quantities are not crucial in this recipe. So adjust to taste. 
  • Don’t have fresh basil available? Chopped flat-leaf parsley would work as a substitute.
  • Underdone eggplant tastes somewhat unpleasant, so make sure yours is fully cooked before you serve it. It’s OK to pull the eggplant from the oven before it’s completely done, though – it will continue to cook in the tomato sauce.
  • When is eggplant done? When it’s fully tender – meaning you can stick a knife or fork into without any resistance.
  • A lot of older cookbooks suggest salting eggplant and letting it sit for half an hour or so before cooking. This allows the salt to draw out bitter juices. But we’ve haven’t bought a “bitter” eggplant in years – the varieties grown today seem just fine to us. So we always skip this step. (See our post on Roast Eggplant for more discussion about this.)
  • Eggplant is available throughout the year, but late summer and early fall tends to be peak season. So now is the time to make this dish!
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Roast White Beans and Eggplant with Tomato

Beanie Babies

“Love me some roast veggies,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And white beans are prime roasting material.”

“Yup, I was using the old bean when I came up with this recipe,” I said.

“Holy frijole,” said Mrs K R. “I may need some pepper flakes to make that comment palatable.”

“Just displaying my aubergenius,” I said.

“That ‘joke’ doesn’t amount to a hill of beans,” said Mrs K R.

She knows how to roast me.

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58 comments:

  1. I never thought to roast beans before- sounds like a good idea! This looks like a great vegetarian dish but today I see the stock market is up, so today I maybe could afford to "add some bacon to my beans" today! (This is something my husband and I often say when the market is doing well)!

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    1. Hi Fran, roast beans are wonderful! And I'm all for adding bacon to anything. Love that saying you and your husband have! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Why didn't I think of roasting white beans??? It looks incredibly delicious and moreish, John.

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    1. Hi Angie, you HAVE to roast white beans! SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Another great-sounding bean recipe, but I don't have all the ingredients on hand like I did for the previous great-sounding bean recipe. Which I made immediately!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, you'll want to go grocery shopping. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Love the size of those beans! It looks and sounds delicious.

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    1. Hi Pam, corona beans are huge! And really good -- and so nice when roasted. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I agree that roasting is the best way! So much flavor in this dish!

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    1. Hi Ashley, we love roast anything! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. That looks fantastic. I love eggplant. I tried growing it this year but sadly they are all about the perfect size for one bite LOL

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, we've never grown eggplant -- so easy to buy at the farmers market. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Huge eggplant fan here, so this salad is right up my alley - elegant, easy, yet packed with texture and flavour! I would definitely consider adding some cheese like goat cheese or feta on top, too :)

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    1. Hi Ben, any kind of salty cheese like that is really good on this dish. Ask us how we know! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. This looks wonderful and as much as I love eggplant, I am allergic to it. Eating it feels like a thousand bees were set free inside my mouth, then I can't breathe so I don't tempt fate anymore.

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    1. Hi Anne, too bad! You could probably roast zucchini instead, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I love roasting just about everything, but beans would be new to me. I can see how it would enhance their rustic charm, and actually amplify their richness. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, you MUST roast beans. When we did, we found it a revelation. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I am always roasting vegetables and particularly eggplant when I have them John, but have never roasted white beans, and I use them a lot as well. Can always learn something from you. This is the perfect meal for our tastes as well.Thanks so much for the extra inspiration.

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    1. Hi Pauline, roast white beans are fabulous. Really. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. i love beans (I laughed at corona) and i love eggplant but i don't love tomato. i can use capsicum instead. what a great idea - to roast beans. a new thought.
    cheers

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    1. Hi Sherry, capiscum would be a nice substitute or tomato -- we'll have to give that a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I've got to give this a try. I totally agree with that roasting theory and I've never thought of roasting beans.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, roasted beans have a terrific texture (and flavor, of course). Roast them longer and they'll get really crunchy. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Love that little char on the beans. That is a great idea. Very tasty dinner idea and perfect for fall.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, we like a bit of char on things. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I don't think I've ever had roasted beans. Sounds amazing!

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    1. Hi Jeff, roasting beans is totally worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Replies
    1. Hi R, yeah, this is pretty good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. As I mentioned on Facebook, I think this is a brilliant recipe and I can’t wait to try it. Shopping day is tomorrow, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to source some corona beans. I hope so, if they’re so big and meaty looking! And, I have everything else already. We have a funny being here called the “mortgage lifter“ - I wonder if that would make a good second option.

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    1. Hi David, haven't heard of the mortgage lifter -- will have to look into that! Really, I think most beans (that are cooked) roast pretty well. We've done mainly white beans, and I can tell you from experience that canned white beans roast quite well. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Replies
    1. Hi Balvinder, we love corona beans! Or beans in general, I guess. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Love the idea of roasting the beans! Those crispy sides look amazing!

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    1. Hi Kelly, once you start roasting beans, you'll be looking for recipes in which to use them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. You know, it would never have occurred to me to roast beans. But now that I see it, I like the idea...

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    1. Hi Frank, I know, it IS a bit weird to roast beans. But they're awfully good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. My kind of dish! I also like the idea of roasting the beans.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, roast beans are terrific. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Love seeing you enjoying your corona beans. :) You know, we just don't eat enough eggplant. My SIL gave me one the other day and I used it in a casserole and started wondering "why?". I love what you have done here with combining it with beans and tomatoes. A wonderful seasonal dish and a great way to use fresh tomatoes. Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, we're loving the corona beans. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Wow, this sounds fabulous. I'm not sure I've ever roasted beans. I roast nearly everything, so why have I never thought of this? What a great idea -- especially on those white beans. Definitely trying that -- and the dish too. Such tasty combination of flavors. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, isn't this a nice dish? You'll love roast beans -- they have such interesting texture, and more intense flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Call me lazy -- LOL -- but I never salt my eggplant, either, unless it's to compact the texture of it. Otherwise, like you, I've yet to get a very bitter eggplant.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, compacting the texture IS a good reason to salt. But even then I'm too lazy to do it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Replies
    1. Hi Denise, and it's Monday today! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I've never roasted beans, but I love the thought of getting them crusty! What a great idea--just as I was running out of ways to use eggplant.

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    1. Hi Lisa, roast beans can be used in so many different ways -- really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Nice one, I bet roasting those vegetables will bring out more of its natural flavours

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    1. Hi Raymund, we love the flavor of roast veggies -- nice and concentrated. Thanks for the comment.

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  27. I've got a couple of eggplants that I'm waiting to pick. I know what recipe they will go into!

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    1. Hi Debra, roast eggplant is SO good. And terrific with roast white beans. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I never thought of roasting beans, or of Corona beans for that matter, but it's so my type of meal I can't wait to try it! The fact that it has eggplant is a big plus, I'm a huge fan. Thanks for sharing John.

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    1. Hi Paula, we love eggplant! And beans. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Wow! This bean salad is even better than the earlier one! So full of hearty flavours.

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    1. Hi Taruna, isn't this nice? SO much flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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