Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia “Ricotta”

April 9, 2015

Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers

It was a pretty dreary start to the week here in Melbourne. With the dreaded rain/wind combo and a top of 16 degrees, it has definitely been starting to show signs of what’s to come. Luckily it’s turn into blue skies and crisp mornings! Whilst you can’t rely on the weather, you can rely on a good seasonal baked dish like this one to warm you through and make your house smell and feel homey.

This is a delicious and warming meal that makes the most of the eggplants currently in season. They are cooked with oregano, chilli, plenty of garlic and olive oil, and are made substantial with some hearty butter beans.

This dish is great as is, but to up the comfort factor, there’s a zippy lemon and macadamia “ricotta” to add before the final bake. It’s super convincingly creamy and crumbly, and everything you want with baked beans and tomato.

It’s also an excellent me to make in advance for an easy but rewarding weeknight dinner. Just pop in the oven for the final bake and to heat it through and then enjoy on your couch with a good book and a cosy blanket. Yes, that’s a compulsory serving suggestion! Xx

Ps- thank you so much to Loving Earth for choosing me to be their June Featured Foodie. I’ll have a chance to write some really exciting and different recipes using their inspiring products, and I am totally honoured to have been chosen out of such a high calibre selection of entrants!

To my new readers who have come with the promise of desserts, don’t worry! There’ll be some more soon! (But a great savoury can still be exciting sometimes, no?) X

Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers

Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers
Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta - Homespun Capers

Baked Eggplant Butter Beans with Lemon Macadamia Ricotta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 min
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You can make this recipe ahead and just finish it for the final bake in the oven – just lower the temperature to 180C and increase the cooking time slightly to make sure it heats through. Use a pan that you can move from stove top to oven, such as a cast iron pot or Dutch oven. If you don’t have one, start the dish in a saucepan and pour the contents into a casserole dish to bake.

Serves 4-6.

Macadamia “Ricotta”

1 cup macadamia nuts
375ml | 1.5 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4-1/2tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
Plenty of ground black pepper

Eggplant Butter Beans

550g | 2 medium eggplant, quartered lengthways and cut into 1 cm slices
200g | 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 tbls extra virgin olive oil (+ more to finish)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
5 sprigs oregano, leaves picked (7g)
220g | 1.5 cups cooked butter beans (Lima; 1 x 400g can, rinsed and drained)
720ml | 680g tomato passata
Salt and pepper to taste

For the “Ricotta”: Blend the macadamias and water till they form a creamy milk (3-5 min). Strain into a nut milk bag or very fine cheesecloth, catching the excess liquid (milk) in a bowl to save for future use (coffee, cereal, smoothies etc). Using your hands, squeeze the bag of macadamia pulp till as much liquid comes out as possible. Put the remaining macadamia pulp in a small bowl and add zest, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast, adjusting to taste. Cover and refrigerate till use, will keep for up to 5 days.

For the Eggplant Butter Beans:  Set your oven to 200C.

In a cast iron pot over medium heat, brown the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes before adding the eggplant, salt and chilli flakes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, adding more oil if needed (about 15 min). Add the garlic and oregano and cook for a minute more before adding the butter beans and passata. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in the oven without a lid for 10 minutes. Remove from oven temporarily to put spoonfuls of “ricotta” on top, before baking again for a further 10 min and the ricotta is starting to colour. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes. Finish with a good drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh oregano leaves.

Serve along side a zesty green salad and either soft cooked polenta, polenta chips, your favourite mash, your favourite bread or pasta.

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7 Comments

  • Reply tohercore April 9, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Oh yum, I loooove the sound of this dish! Im loving eggplant at the moment, and have been experimenting quite a bit with vegan cheese too, so this sounds like the perfect comfort food to me :)

    • Reply Liberty April 9, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Thanks so much Dearna! I’ve been eating variations of this dish since December. Total eggplant binge this season! Xx

  • Reply Marry September 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Just made/ate this and you are right, it is easy and delicious. I halved the recipe and it came out fine. I have started using much less lemon than recipes call for because it’s always too much. I used 1/2 tsp lemon juice in the “ricotta” and it was plenty. Also this is my first time using passata and I was surprised it was so good. Found it at Whole Foods Market in the US. Thank you for this recipe.

    • Reply Liberty September 13, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks Marry! Glad you enjoyed it :) I must confess I have a bit of a sour tooth, and I’m glad you altered the recipe to your taste. Loved Wholefoods when I visited the US a couple of years ago – wish we had something similar in Melbourne! Thanks again!

  • Reply Marry November 24, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Help! So I made this again tonight and I could not make the ricotta. I tried 3Xs. I bought a new roll of cheese cloth and the holes were a bit big so I tripled it and ended up with only about a tsp. of cheese. So I tried it again with a different batch of nuts and only 1 layer of cheese cloth and ended up with pure nut soup and not even a tsp. of cheese. Then I tried a 3rd time and used the food processor instead of the blender and way less water and ended up with nut porridge. Any ideas about what I’m doing wrong? It came out perfect when I made it in Sept. Thanks Liberty.

    • Reply Liberty November 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Marry! Hmmm, I’m not 100% sure but think it might have something to do with the coarseness of the cloth. I use a nylon nutmilk bag to make this cheese, which is extremely fine, and I think because macadamia blends up so smooth (nearly as smooth as cashews, which you can’t even strain because there won’t be much pulp remaining) it really needs something fine to catch it. Either that or your blender is amazingly effective, but I think it’s probably the cloth.

      Sorry that you haven’t had much success with it, but I’m glad it’s worked for you once before at least! As a alternative I would recommend making a cashew cheese style sauce with the macadamias – blending them with only a little water and just drizzling that on top of the beans before baking – won’t be the same texture but it will still taste delicious. Hope that helps! X

  • Reply Marry November 25, 2016 at 3:56 am

    Thanks for your speedy reply. I did drizzle the macadamia porridge on top and it was delicious. Actually this dish is great without the cheese at all. I still want to conquer this mystery though; I’ll try the nut bag. Thanks again.

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