Finding economical, nutritionally beneficial and healthy foods to put onto the table for hungry family members can often be trying. The tried and tested, quick fix popular meals are often so appealing. We all know the ones I refer to.

We are continually pressured to add fresh fruit and vegetables to our diets and maybe exploring some typically recognised vegetarian dishes may be a source of further adventure. There are huge benefits of Pulses which is the collective name for Beans of which there are a huge variety and constitute the staple foods for many countries around the World. The most cost effective way of buying them is dried. (Be sure to read the cooking instructions carefully) More readily available is a large collection of ready cooked cans and tetra packs ready to fill the store cupboard for impromptu use.

Firstly I’ll give you a basic Bean Stew Recipe


Bean Stew

Olive Oil

5 Celery Sticks, roughly diced

3 medium Carrots, roughly diced

3 Medium Onions peeled and roughly chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 x 400g can Chopped Tomatoes

1x small can Tomato Puree

About 700ml Vegetable Stock, hot

1 x400g can Borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

1x 400g can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Small handful Dried Mixed Herbs

Salt & Pepper



Heat the oil in a large casserole or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the Celery, Onion and Carrots and cook, stirring, for 7-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic.

Tip in the tomatoes and the Puree, add the dried mixed herbs and season well. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer fairly rapidly for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the vegetables are just tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened.

Stir in the beans (add a dash of hot water, if necessary) and continue to cook and serve.


Open up your mind:

  1. 1.    Use different Beans
  2. 2.    Add sliced Chorizo
  3. 3.    Add Crispy Diced Bacon
  4. 4.    Add some Minced Beef
  5. 5.    Add a Chilli Con Carne Spice Packet
  6. 6.    Add chopped up left over Sunday Luncheon Roasted Meat
  7. 7.    Add chopped Chicken Meat (Breast or Thighs)
  8. 8.    Use Curry Powder instead of Mixed Herbs
  9. 9.    Add cooked cubed Potatoes

10. Top with Herb Dumplings


You could cook this in your slow cooker. Maybe double the ingredients and make a batch and freeze in blocks for future uses. Serve with warm Crusty Bread – Rice – Pasta – Jacket Potato. …………………..Have Fun !!