This dish was inspired by my lovely Italian neighbours who gave me some magic purple beans. I have no idea what type of beans they are, but apparently they grow all year round. They are large white and maroon beans that turn purple when you cook them. I think they may be butter beans, but if anyone knows what they are please let me know. Caponata is usually served as a vegetable side dish. I added beans and served it as a main. I also served it along side some sautéed green beans and Farinata. This was my first time cooking Farinata and along with my beans it was a big hit with the family. Its tastes like a big crunchy savoury pancake and is made of chickpea flour. Its a great gluten free alternative to bread. Its also a great lunch box filler for kids or work lunches.
Purple bean Caponata (vegan, gluten free, soy free)
1 medium eggplant, sliced in large rounds
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 celery sticks, leaves removed, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon baby capers
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tsp raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 cooked purple butter beans or other butter beans
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped
1. First you need to remove the bitterness from the eggplant, by sprinkling with salt (I just use table salt) and leaving to sit for 10 minutes. Moisture should come out of the eggplant flesh. Wipe the moisture and salt off the eggplant. Then cut into cubes.
2. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Then add onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
3. Stir through the eggplant and another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for 5 minutes and stir frequently.
4. Add garlic, zucchini and tomato. Stir through and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Stir through the tomato paste and capers. Cook for another minute.
6. Add 1/4 cup of water and once it absorbs a little add another 1/4 cup of water, so that the vegetables don’t stick to the skillet.
7. Add pine nuts, red wine vinegar, sugar, sea salt and black pepper. Leave to cook for 10 minutes.
8. Add the beans and another 1/4 cup of water and cook for a further 5 minutes so that the beans are heated through.
9. Take off the heat and stir through basil and parsley. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.