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How to make bean, pepper, and walnut salad, and ratatouille

06 March 2020


TAKE a tin of beans — they make a good protein base that embraces any number of partners from tradi­tional English tastes, such as pease pud­ding, to Cajun and TexMex, East­­ern, Indian, and Mediterranean flavours. Combine them with a ce­real or dairy food and you have a complete protein.

Cannellini beans are easy to find now; they are mild, useful for salads, and have a more delicate flavour. Green lentils are delicious in Greek and Mediter­ranean salads with soft cheeses. But­ter beans and red kidney beans are ideal for meat or veget­arian casse­r­oles. Add a handful of chopped fresh herbs for extra vita­mins, colour, and flavour.

Here is a recipe for a Bean, pep­per, and walnut salad which gets its robust flavour from toasted walnuts. 

3 red peppers
4 tomatoes, sliced or chopped
400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
generous handful of walnuts
large bunch of watercress, torn into sprigs
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons capers, chopped

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove, crushed
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper

Halve and de-seed the peppers, then roast them or grill them for 10 min­utes. Add a generous handful of wal­nuts to the peppers for the last two minutes, just to toast them. Be care­ful: they burn in seconds. Put the pep­­pers in a plastic freezer bag for a few minutes to help loosen the skins in their own steam. When you’re ready to eat, wash the water­cress and assemble the salad ingre­dients. Com­­­­­bine all the salad-dressing in­­gre­­­di­ents and whisk together well. Dress the salad and serve it with Greek yogurt and wholemeal toast.

Ratatouille vegetables can be made into a satisfying supper dish with a tin of chickpeas, Harissa spices, and some good bread. 

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, sliced
1 aubergine, cubed
2 peppers, chopped
1 courgette, diced
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g passata or tinned tomatoes
olive oil
Harissa paste
fresh basil, parsley, or coriander leaves

Fry the vegetables gently in a gener­ous slug of olive oil, in the given order, leaving the courgette on one side. Stir in the Harissa paste and allow the spices to warm through. Add the chickpeas and tom­­atoes, cover, and simmer until carrots and aubergine are tender. Just before serving, stir in the cour­gette and fresh herbs. Season well, and serve with bread or pasta.

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