With the weather now on the cold side, Anna Collins loves to make her own Chilli Bean Casserole dish as comfort food. This was a family favourite often cooked by her mother for many years.
Kids seem to like this dish, though you may just need to omit hot chilli and cayenne and use paprika instead. Make a large batch so that you can store leftovers in the freezer to reuse at later date. If you don’t like kidney beans, I suggest replacing them with borlotti or white beans such as cannelini or butterbeans also work well.
225g (1 large mug) dried red kidney beans (or 2 tins sugar free kidney beans, drained and rinsed)
1250ml water for boiling (if using dried beans)
1 dsp extra virgin olive oil
225g/1 very large onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
450g mixed veg, chopped (eg. red/green peppers, carrot, celery, turnip, runner beans, green beans, courgettes)
Rounded tsp dried basil
Rounded tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp chilli powder (optional – avoid if you don’t like hot spices)
400-500g passata (sieved tomatoes) OR a 400g can tomatoes, liquidized/mashed
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp red wine (optional)
Stock (liquid reserved from cooking the beans) or water
Juice of ½ lemon (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper and Himalayan or Atlantic sea salt
1. If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight in filtered water, drain and rinse well.
2. Bring to the boil in fresh water and boil fast for at least 10 minutes so that any protease-inhibitors are destroyed. (You can give yourself an awful cramp and tummy upset if you don’t do this with raw beans!)
3. Then cover the pot and simmer for a further 35-40 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Cooking times vary. If you find the water tends to boil over, add a teaspoon of olive oil. When the beans are soft, drain and reserve the stock for use later.
4. Put the onion and garlic in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with 1 dsp olive oil and 1 dsp of water, cover with a lid and sweat for a few minutes until translucent. Then add the chopped vegetables, beans (if using tinned, do not add till later), basil and spices.
5. Stir well, then cover and sweat (on low heat) 5 minutes.
6. Next add tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine and ¼ pint of the stock/water.
7. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the veg are softened.
8. Add the lemon juice and seasonings, tinned beans (rinse well first)or cooked beans. Increase the stock level if you like your casseroles fairly liquid then cook for a further 10-15 mins until the vegetables are tender.
A hot tip: The dish is best served with a green salad or steamed broccoli. Some cooked quinoa, millet or brown rice is nice with this (but not if you are on the SC diet!). The quinoa, in particular, with its 11% protein will keep you fuller for longer. If you are on the SC diet, just put a few more carrots and turnip or celeriac in the casserole for extra carbs.
Why this is good for you: Having vegetable protein provides food for your good gut bacteria. Maybe that is part of the reason why a semi-vegetarian diet helps people live longer. Herbs and spices all have medicinal qualities as they encourage antioxidant activity in our body – good news for reducing inflammation, helping your skin and your intestines. They also help suppress disease-causing bacteria in your gut while encouraging the growth of helpful species.
Thanks to nutritional therapist Anna Collins for sharing one of her latest recipes with us. To receive Anna’s regular bulletin email email@example.com or check out her latest recipes on her blog post Anna's Larder.