Smoked Butter Bean Stew

Monday, 5 December 2016

After months of anticipation (yes, this is exciting stuff), Vegfest was finally here in Scotland at the weekend and as I've only been vegan for around 10 months now, it was my first time going. It was amazing. There was quite literally incredible vegan food around every corner - pop tarts, donuts, sticky toffee pudding, burgers, cheese, chocolate, raw cakes (what was that about veganism being restrictive?). It was such a fantastic day and for the next few weeks I'm going to be trying super hard not to eat all the chocolates I bought for Christmas presents. The temptation is real guys.

This week's recipe is a little different from the usual. I was asked to take part in a recipe campaign for Paymentsense and create a recipe that feeds four people for £5 (easy). Their research found that a third of people change their eating habits towards the end of the month because they find themselves with less money left than they maybe need. So, they want to put together a pack of recipes to show people that they can still eat nice, tasty meals even when money is a bit tight. There seems to be a bit of a misconception that eating vegan can be expensive, which couldn't be further from the truth. Generally, vegans eat a lot of veggies, fruit, whole grains and legumes, which are some of the cheapest foods you can buy. This smoked butter bean stew tastes so good, costs very little to make and is a really nice hearty meal for a cold winters night.

You will need (serves 4-5): 
3 carrots (20p)
2 leeks (34p)
1 courgette (36p)
1 red onion (10p)
4 cloves garlic (10p)
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (62p)
1 400g tin butter beans (50p)
1/2 cup pearl barley (10p)
2 vegetable stock cubes - I use the Kallo low salt ones (20p)
3 teaspoons smoked paprika (15p)
1 teaspoon oregano (5p)

4 baking potatoes to serve (79p)

Total cost: £3.51 for four people (and some leftover stew for someone's lunch the next day - win!) 

- Finely chop the garlic cloves and chop up the onion and leek. 
- Put a little hot water into a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Fry this off for 3-4 minutes. 
- Add the leeks and fry for a further 2 minutes until softened. 
- Dissolve the stock cubes in a little water and add this to the pot along with the chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika, oregano, pearl barley and 3 + 1/2 cups of water. 
- Bring to the boil for 10 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Chop up the carrots and courgette into small chunks. 
- Add the carrots, courgette, and butter beans to the pot and leave to simmer for a further 30 minutes.
- If serving with baked potatoes, pop these in the oven to bake while the stew is cooking. They will take 50 minutes to an hour.

You can serve the stew with whatever you fancy. I like using it as a baked potato filling but you could also serve it with rice, pasta or just a lot of crusty bread! 

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