Herby Bean Salad (4)

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Beans, particularly cannellini, beans, are a staple in my kitchen cupboard. They are so versatile, can be served in both cold and hot dishes, are filling and are also good for you. This recipe is just a simple cold dish and uses a great blend of fresh herbs – mint, parsley and cilantro – and a little red onion. It is best left for half an hour or so before serving to let the flavors develop.

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 heaped tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

1 heaped tbsp. each of fresh parsley, cilantro, mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl place beans, red onion and herbs and mix together.

Then add the vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix again.

Leave to stand for some 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Steff’s Meat Sauce (4)

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When I cook I try to make the dish healthy by cutting down on fat and sugar where possible. So, for this recipe I replaced ground beef with a mixture of ground chicken and ground turkey – a tip from my friend, Steff. I also bulked up the sauce with cannellini beans.

Because both chicken and turkey give out a certain amount of water, you may find that the sauce is a bit too runny. If so at the end of the cooking time cook for a little longer at a higher heat to reduce the liquid.

Just before serving I add small pieces of goat’s mozzarella which start melting and going gooey (more credit to Steff) and I serve this sauce over rice noodles – the thicker kind if you can find them – but it would be good with a baked potato, over rice or zucchini ‘pasta’.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 pound of ground chicken

1 pound of ground turkey

1 cup passata

1 cup chicken broth

2 oz. goat’s mozzarella – cut into small pieces

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and, when sizzling, add the onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic, stir and let cook for a few minutes.

Stir in the ground chicken and turkey and break up the meat so it isn’t in clumps. Let the meat brown as this will add more flavor to the sauce.

When the meat is nicely browned stir in the passata and the broth and bring to the boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve before the cheese fully melts.

 

Bean, Avocado and Radish Salad (4)

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I love this so much I have eaten it for lunch 3 days in a row! It is simple and quick to make and quite substantial. I toss it in an apple cider vinaigrette and sprinkle microgreens over the top.

1 X 15 oz can of cannellini beans

1 avocado – diced

1 largish red radish

1 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped (or more, if you like)

Small handful of microgreens

Place first four ingredients in a bowl, toss with apple cider vinaigrette (1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar – dissolve mustard in the vinegar – and 3 tbsp. olive oil).

Sprinkle microgreens over the top.

Egg and Bean Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (4)

Originally this was an eat up what is in the fridge salad and I had no intention of writing about it but it tasted good – so nice in fact that it was gone before I thought about taking a photo! I had a head of romaine lettuce which needed using and some left over cannellini beans. There were a couple of hard-boiled eggs as there often are in the fridge and I had part of a red onion. My apple cider vinaigrette is a little softer and sweeter than a regular dressing and apple cider has health benefits and is now my go-to dressing.

I head of romaine lettuce – chopped

2 hard boiled eggs – sliced and chopped

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1/8 to 1/4 of a red onion (depending on how much you like raw onion) – finely chopped

Compose a salad with the above ingredients and toss with apple cider vinaigrette (below)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and vinegar until smooth.

Add oil and whisk until dressing is emulsified

Pour over salad and toss,

 

Crock Pot Chicken Chili (4)

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Finally, the perfect blend of spices – not so mild that you don’t know you are eating chili and not too spicy that your mouth feels on fire. Exchanging the traditional beef for chicken makes the dish lighter. To get the best flavor I softened and browned the onions and garlic and also seared the chicken pieces on all sides before putting them in the crock pot. If you can find a good quality chicken broth that makes a difference too.

 

1 tbsp. oil seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2  chicken breasts – cut into bite-size pieces

1 x 15 oz. can of cannellini beans – drained and rinsed

1 x 15 oz. can of black beans – drained and rinsed

1 scant tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. turmeric

3.5 oz. canned mild green chiles (they come roasted, peeled and diced and the brand was ‘La Preferida’)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat the seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently. Then tip into the crock pot.

Place chicken pieces in the same skillet and sear until browned on all sides. Then place in the crock pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot and place on ‘high’ for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Tuscan Beans (4)

Inspired by my lunch overlooking the Tuscan countryside.

2 slices of prosciutto – cut into small pieces

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. roughly chopped sage

1 x 15.8 oz. can of Great Northern beans – rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp. chopped and crushed rosemary

Pinch of white pepper (no salt needed as prosciutto is salty)

Heat a skillet/frying pan and when hot add pieces of prosciutto and let them crisp, then remove from pan and set aside.

Pour 1/2 tbsp. olive oil into skillet and add the chopped sage and let it crisp before removing it from the skillet and placing aside.

Place beans, chicken broth and rosemary in the skillet, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the prosciutto and sage.

Serve immediately – great with pork.

 

 

 

Jo’s Vegetable Pie (4)

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What to do with a surfeit of lentils? Had already made soup. How about a veggie version of Shepherd’s Pie? To lentils I added peas, cannellini beans, carrots and ‘passata’ (tomato sauce). The topping was horseradish mashed potato

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2 medium carrots – cut into slices and then each slice cut into quarters

3 cups cooked lentils

1 can of cannellini beans

1 cup frozen peas

24 oz passata (I use the ‘Flora’ brand)

Heat oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let brown, then add garlic and carrots and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add rest of ingredients one at a time, bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Place mixture in ovenproof serving dish, top with horseradish mash (see below) and cook in oven at 350 degrees for another 20 minutes.

For the mashed potato topping I took 2 largish potatoes and mashed them with 4 tsps. of prepared horseradish (Gold’s brand).