I love vegetarian meals and we actually eat more vegetarian meals in our house than meat containing ones. However it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut. I realised that I haven’t used many beans for a while and I have a store of dried ones of all varieties. Partially this is because I don’t cope too well with having large portions of them in my diet. Also I wasn’t sure my boy would be best impressed with me. How wrong I was, tthe dish was emptied, plates all cleared and everyone had seconds!
Beans and Pulses are a Fodmap so they can cause issues for some people… the trick is to work out how much you can tolerate, I know my limit is a small portion (2 tbsp) about once a week. As with many things it is all about tolerance and moderation.
Apparently 2016 is the year of pulses. This group of foods includes beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, they are probably best know for their fibre content and wind producing abilites! It is recommended that we eat 30g a day of fibre, which is actually a fair amount to fit in and requires a healthy, well thought out eating plan for your day. Pulses can be a helpful way to get that fibre content up, 3 tbsp is about 6g fibre. They are a great source of insoluble fibre to help sweep the system through and helps with constipation issues. They also contain soluble fibre, which binds with cholesterol stopping it being absorbed and can help control blood sugar levels too.
A great protein source for vegans and vegetarians too. However they do not contain all the essential amino acids that our body needs to build proteins, so my advice is to always eat a variety of protein sources and a variety of different pulses. In this recipe I included cannellini beans and chickpeas.
Added bonus 3 tbsp (80g) also counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables. This recipe contains 400g beans so 5 adult portions. Along with the vegetables this works out at 3 portions of vegetables in a meal.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 galric cloves crushed
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 peppers chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and in small chunks
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs or a large handful of fresh herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 100ml water
- 400g mixed pulses (I used cannelini beans and chickpeas)
- 2 slices of bread (wheat/gluten free if needed)
- 100g oats (gluten free if needed)
- Fresh parsley
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.
- Add the carrots and peppers and cook for 5 minutes on a gentle heat.
- Mix in the paprika and cumin then the sweet potatoes and cook for a minute.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until everything is soft.
- Mix in the cooked/tinned and drained pulses along with the herbs.
- Break up the bread into crumbs using your hands or a food processor.
- Mix with the chopped fresh parsley and oats.
- Place the beany mix in an overproof dish and top with the oats and breadcrumb mixture.
- Dot with mozzerella if wanted.
- Bake for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 6.
- If using dried beans use 200g, soak overnight, drain the water and then cook for 40 minutes or until soft.