As a vegetarian uni student, I used to make this dish weekly. It’s cheap, tasty, nutritious and filling, and best of all it’s extremely easy to make.
The kidney and white beans are an excellent source of molybdenum – a trace mineral that helps the body detoxify sulphites, plus they’re full of protein and fibre and are also a good source of magnesium. The capsicums/bell peppers are rich in vitamin C (more so even than oranges), contain high levels of carotenoids and research suggests that they have cancer fighting properties.
This dish is one that can be enjoyed straight away, but definitely tastes better the next day and even the following day (it will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge). It will feed a family or freezes well if you’re only cooking for one or two.
- 250g/9 oz soaked and cooked kidney beans OR 1 x 400g tin/14 oz can*
- 250g/9oz soaked and cooked white beans (cannellini or great northern beans) OR 1 x 400g tin/14 oz can*
- 1 red capsicum/bell pepper
- 1 yellow or green capsicum/bell pepper
- 1 large, brown onion
- 2 cloves garlic/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 large tin chopped/crushed tomatoes (800g/28 oz)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika (I prefer sweet rather than smoked)
- 1 teaspoon good quality ground salt (I use Himalayan crystal or Celtic sea salt)
- 1 teaspoon minced chilli/dried chilli flakes/1 small chilli finely chopped – seeds removed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup of filtered water
Finely chop the onion and garlic (if you’re using fresh garlic) and cut the capsicum/bell peppers into square chunks of about 2.5cm/1 inch each side.
Heat a large saucepan to a medium heat and add the olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent then add the capsicum/bell pepper and cook for around 5 minutes until they start to soften, stirring every minute or so with a wooden spoon. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper and stir in well then fry for another minute. Finally add the tomatoes, beans and water and simmer for 45 minutes
Serve with fresh coriander and optionally some thick natural or greek yoghurt.
I recently came across a Jamie Oliver that adds sweet potato to the recipe. I gave this a try and found that it does impart a good flavour. If using sweet potato, you’ll need around 2 medium sized sweet potatoes (around half a kilo or just over a 1 lb). Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and chop the sweet potato into pieces roughly 2.5cm or 1 inch in size. Roast for 40 minutes while your chilli is cooking then add in at the end an stir through.
* If using dried beans, you’ll need to soak them overnight in filtered water – ideally for 12 hours (it’s fine to soak for up to 24 hours). Cook the beans separately for 1.5 hours each. I cook big batches and freeze in lots of 250g/9oz which is roughly equivalent to the contents of a 400g tin/14oz can. Note that the last time I cooked pre-soaked white beans, they were ready in around an hour. I read somewhere that the cooking time required can depend on how fresh the beans are so it’s advisable to check them after an hour to avoid over cooking.