A nice little plateful.

I made this last weekend.

Cannellini beans, grilled courgettes, tomatoes with a very very green basil dressing.

It was very nice.


Is is such a good combination of flavours and textures, the meaty, nutty beans with strips of sweet slightly charred courgette, tiny, red, flavorsome plum tomatoes and loads of extremely green basil dressing, best eaten with a fork in one hand and a hunk of good bread in the other with a scoop and mop attitude.


I would happily open a tin of beans for something like this but last weekend, in a moment of unusual organisation, I remembered to soak some. Now, there is something pleasing about a bowl of beans soaking, they not only look kind of pretty and faintly amusing as they swell up and shrivel a bit, but they are also full of promise and potential. I always feel a wave of satisfaction when I remember to soak beans – I don’t know why really, it is hardly and impressive or creative task, it took all of….umm….20 seconds….. silly really.

Anyway, just as satisfying, is grilling the courgettes, the searing heat of the pan doing all sorts of tasty things to the soft flesh, charring, making their flavour more intense.


So you have soaked, cooked the beans and grilled your courgettes..

..now you halve some tiny tomatoes, cut the courgettes into strips and toss everything together with a basil dressing which is nothing more than a clove of garlic, a massive handful of fresh basil leaves, a pinch of salt wizzed in the blender with loads of your nicest olive oil.


I made this last saturday, so that was the 30th of August…… anyway, the exact date isn’t really important, what is important is that our platefuls tasted just right, seasonal and appropriate for these last, still very warm last days of summer and just a litle hearty, like the autumn days to come.


Grilled courgette, tomato and cannellini bean salad with basil dressing.

From the Riverford farm cookbook

serves 4

  • 200g dried cannellini or haricot beans soaked overnight in cold water
  • bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 courgettes cut into ribbons 5mm thick
  • 12 cherry or small plum tomatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • A bunch of basil
  • a clove of garlic, crushed
  • 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt

Put the drained beans in large pan with the bay leaf, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a an hour or two, until tender. Drain, season to taste and dress wth 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Rub the courgette ribbons with the rest of the rest of the olive oil and then grill on a ridged pan until tender and charred. Cut each ribbon in two lenghways.

Halve the tomatoes.

Make the dressing; Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and wizz until smooth.

In a large bowl. gently mix the cougette strips, tomatoes and beans together with enough dressing to coat all the ingredients nicely.

Eat with nice fresh bread.


Filed under Beans and pulses, food, recipes, salads

9 responses to “A nice little plateful.

  1. Rachel, You may want to make a note that us Americans call courgettes “zucchini.” It looks quite tasty! And, very appropriate considering the things coming out of my garden and what’s in the pantry. I hope i can make this tomorrow!

  2. love that ^^. the pictures are lovely, too. i totally like the first one 🙂 XOXO

  3. I’m not so fond of beans but you make this sound so delicious that I’d love to try it.

    Lovely blog by the way!

  4. I never get tired of bean salads. Right now we have fresh cannellini and cranberry beans at the market, no soaking and only 30 min. to cook! You do of course have to shell them, but that is actually quite fun, especially with a 3 year old.

  5. I love how your photos convey a mood, rather than just a close up of the food. Makes me feel like I have a seat at the table, scooping up some of those amazing vegetables with the torn piece of crusty bread. Beautiful post, as usual.

  6. Rachel, I just tried this and love it! I’ll be making it again. I used canned cannellini beans though. Thanks for converting me to beans!

    And lovely to meet you too!

  7. this is the perfect thing to make a huge batch of for the week. i’d eat it happily all week long for lunch at my boring, dark, lonely work desk but would prob. close my eyes, take one bite, and feel like i’m sitting on a deck in the sun with a cold glass of white wine. ahhhhhh…

    i always forget to soak beans too and i get very annoyed w/ myself. i’m vowing to start cooking w/ beans way more often than i do… so damn cheap.

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