Sun-Dried Tomato & Herb Braised Beans

We lean heavily on our pantry this time of year during the hungry gap (that time when Irish winter veg are finished and the summer harvests are still a little way away). Beans and lentils are so nourishing, cheap and filling – and they are climate friendly crops too. This is our favourite way to make a pot of white beans. We sometimes make it with dried beans when we have the time, but here is a quicker version with tinned beans for you. You can customise it as you like with greens wilted in at the last minute, top with roasted vegetables or just scoop it up with some good bread. So so delicious!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 sweet potatoes – scrubbed & chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, sliced
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • a whole bulb of garlic – cloves separated, peeled & sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a large handful of rosemary
  • 2 tins butterbeans or cannellini beans
  • a large handful of fresh thyme
  • a large glass of white wine
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chopped spinach or kale or another leafy green you like


  1. Turn the oven to 200C and tumble your sweet potatoes into a roasting dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle over the chilli flakes and chopped sage. Shake the dish to evenly coat the potatoes in the seasoning then pop it in the oven to bake while you make the beans. Depending on your oven and the size of your chunks, they should take around 20-30 minutes to cook through.
  2. Drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a pot. Then, using kitchen scissors, chop the sun-dried tomatoes up into strips. Then turn the heat under the pot to medium-high and add the sliced garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook until the garlic is softening and starting to colour.
  3. Then tip in the 2 tins of beans and their liquid too. Add the white wine, thyme and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper then simmer gently for 15 minutes or so until the flavours have developed. Careful not to overcook the beans as they will turn to mush. Turn the heat off and let the beans rest while you wait for the sweet potatoes to cook through.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through and you are ready to serve, add the greens to the beans and warm them through. Serve in wide bowls topped with the roasted sweet potatoes and scoop up with bread if you like.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The best current gut health science advises that we should be including as much plant diversity in our diets as possible. According to Dr Megan Rossi, one of the worlds leading gut health scientists and researchers, we should aim for 30 diverse ‘plant points’ every week. Do you eat 30 different plants a week? We certainly hope our veg boxes help you along the way to hitting that target.

We all know about the importance of eating our greens, but did you know that purple foods are really important to include in our diets too? Purple fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants called anthocyanins? All brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help prevent or delay cell damage. It’s best to get a full range of all the different types of antioxidants out there, so in the spirit of eating the rainbow, I’ve been trying out one of the new vegetables we have in, the vibrant, purple sweet potato! I’ve already made an irresistible classic – baked purple sweet potatoes with a bean chilli – and I couldn’t not make some gnocchi. Here’s the surprisingly simple recipe. I made a batch of butternut gnocchi at the same time for even more plant diversity on our plates. How will you eat purple sweet potatoes?

Enjoy! Liz x


  • purple sweet potatoes (one per person)
  • plain flour (amounts vary – see method)
  • salt to taste
  • butter/oil for frying
  • pesto to serve (make your own or we deliver a choice of organic pestos, add them to your fruit and veg order here)


Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Scrub one sweet potato per person. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them in a tray in the oven until soft all the way through. Sweet potatoes cook faster than regular potatoes, so test them after 20 minutes.

Allow the potatoes to cool to a temperature you can handle. Then peel them or slice them in half and scoop out the soft flesh.

Mash or puree the baked sweet potato flesh in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Season the mash really well with salt (bearing in mind you will be adding flour).

Then start adding flour, a little at a time, and mixing it into the puree until you reach a soft dough consistency*. I generally use plain flour or strong white bread flour but most flours work. You can easily make these gluten free by using a plain flavoured gluten free flour like rice flour or a plain gluten free flour blend.

Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead into a smooth, soft ball. Do not overwork the dough, you want to keep it tender.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Get a frying pan and some butter or oil ready too.

Roll the ball of dough into a long snake about 2 cm thick. You may wish to divide the dough into manageable pieces, depending on how big a batch you are making.

Cut the snake into bite sized pieces. You can leave the pieces in the pillow shapes they are, or roll them into balls then over a gnocchi board to make little grooves. Alternatively you can roll the pieces over the back of a fork.

Boil the gnocchi in the pot of boiling water in small batches. Once they start to float to the top of the pot, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and fry them in the frying pan with a little oil or butter until they are hot and crispy and take on some colour.

Toss the hot gnocchi with some pesto (you can loosen the pesto with a little of the pasta water if needed) and enjoy with some peppery salad leaves.

*I made a batch of butternut squash gnocchi at the same time. The method is the same. But as butternut squashes generally contain more water than sweet potatoes, they need a fair bit more flour to turn into dough.