veggin’ out


char grilled veg with walnut & white bean puree

It’s that time of year. Grey skies, impossibly endless showers, short short days, in a word…miserable. And while it does seem like every second person has the flu and that the sun is never going to shine again, hope is in sight. With the shortest day of the southern hemisphere year just around the corner, it’s time for rugging up. It’s time for tissues with eucalyptus. It’s time for vitamin packed veggies to help ward off the threat of the dreaded flu.

When you’re feeling a little under the weather, there’s nothing like a big feast of vegetables to make you feel like you’re doing something positive for your body. This recipe is super versatile and can be a meal in its own right or if you have a die hard carnivore that needs satisfying, it can be a rustic accompaniment to grilled meats or poultry. Something like a char grilled version of ratatouille.

Instead of the walnut & white bean puree you could substitute in the more traditional hummus or for an even easier option crumble over goats cheese or good quality ricotta. It would also work well with the squeaky cheese BBQ  haloumi and I’m thinking it would make the perfect bed for a poached egg or two. So many options to see you through the winter.

A flu busting supper
char grilled veg with walnut & white bean puree
blood orange & campari creme brulee*

*note: click on the link in the menu for the brulee recipe

char grilled veg with walnut & white bean puree
serves 4

Feel free to play around with the veg you use. Aubergine, zucchini and red capsicum are my favourites but I do like to mix it up with whatever is looking good. This week it was witlof but on other occasions I’ve played around with leeks, green onions, asparagus, red onion and even sliced baby fennel.

8 baby aubergine (Lebanese eggplant), halved lengthwise
4 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4 strips
2 red capsicum (peppers), deseeded and sliced into 2cm wide strips
4 witlof, halved lengthwise
3T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
2T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
walnut & white bean puree, to serve
Lebanese bread, optional to serve

Preheat a BBQ or char grill plate. Toss veg with 3T olive oil and season well. BBQ veg over a high heat until each is cooked to your liking. Combine balsamic and extra virgin oil with the garlic in a large bowl and as each veg is cooked add it to the dressing bowl. When all veg are cooked toss gently and allow to stand for a few minutes to soak up the dressing. Toss through mint leaves.

Place a generous smear of puree on a platter or 4 dinner plates. Remove and discard garlic and pile veg on top of the puree. Serve with Lebanese bread, if using, passed separately.

walnut & white bean puree
Makes 2C

This is one of those great recipes that came about by mistake. I was in the mood for hummus to go with my veg but had neither tahini nor chickpeas on hand. But walnuts and a tin of cannellini beans were in my larder so I decided to try a hybrid of the great Turkish sauce, tarator. The results were surprisingly good. Feel free to use this as a dip or wherever you’d normally use hummus.

200g walnuts
1 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3T sherry or red wine vinegar
4T extra virgin olive oil
4T water, or to taste

Process 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 paste is the consistency you’re after. Season well.


  • I cooked a huge batch of white beans on the weekend, in fact I slightly over-cooked them, so they’ll be perfect for white bean and walnut puree. Lovely recipe idea – think I might be making this over the next couple of days.

  • I understand the miserable feelings about the weather, too… But today we have had some light sunshine after a week of rain, and it’s much better!

    I am drawn to the lovely walnut & white bean puree! I think it must be quite healthy, and a lovely dip to accompany the grilled veg you have!

  • Jules, I can so relate to your weather blues. But right now we cannot complain – Germany is having a great summer. We actually made similar vegies over the weekend on the BBQ. The dip though looks and sounds wonderful. I’m sending some sunshine your way!

  • Had something similar for dinner this evening and, like you say, I feel re-energised. Love how the vegetable’s flavours intensify when cooked in this way.

  • Gorgeous stuff! I’ve just stumbled across your site, and am terribly happy about the discovery. The walnuts sound like another such find! The creaminess sounds akin to pine nuts but with a whole other depth of flavour. I must try it sometime. Cheers.

  • looks excellent! I love the smokiness of grilled vegetables with something creamy like hummous or bean puree. superb.

  • Hi Clance
    I find myself here at your site getting this recipe again! – it has become a regular in our house for luchboxes as a great alternative to hommus. My Maggie calls it her “pink dip”. Thanks.

  • Hello,

    What sort of seasoning goes well with this sauce/dip? I really don’t have a way with spices, so need some advice. : )

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