Sun-Dried Tomato & Herb Braised Beans

We lean heavily on our pantry this time of year during the hungry gap (that time when Irish winter veg are finished and the summer harvests are still a little way away). Beans and lentils are so nourishing, cheap and filling – and they are climate friendly crops too. This is our favourite way to make a pot of white beans. We sometimes make it with dried beans when we have the time, but here is a quicker version with tinned beans for you. You can customise it as you like with greens wilted in at the last minute, top with roasted vegetables or just scoop it up with some good bread. So so delicious!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 sweet potatoes – scrubbed & chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, sliced
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • a whole bulb of garlic – cloves separated, peeled & sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a large handful of rosemary
  • 2 tins butterbeans or cannellini beans
  • a large handful of fresh thyme
  • a large glass of white wine
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chopped spinach or kale or another leafy green you like

Method

  1. Turn the oven to 200C and tumble your sweet potatoes into a roasting dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle over the chilli flakes and chopped sage. Shake the dish to evenly coat the potatoes in the seasoning then pop it in the oven to bake while you make the beans. Depending on your oven and the size of your chunks, they should take around 20-30 minutes to cook through.
  2. Drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a pot. Then, using kitchen scissors, chop the sun-dried tomatoes up into strips. Then turn the heat under the pot to medium-high and add the sliced garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook until the garlic is softening and starting to colour.
  3. Then tip in the 2 tins of beans and their liquid too. Add the white wine, thyme and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper then simmer gently for 15 minutes or so until the flavours have developed. Careful not to overcook the beans as they will turn to mush. Turn the heat off and let the beans rest while you wait for the sweet potatoes to cook through.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through and you are ready to serve, add the greens to the beans and warm them through. Serve in wide bowls topped with the roasted sweet potatoes and scoop up with bread if you like.

Heart Health Bowls

We have been focusing on heart health this week and creating recipes specifically designed to boost the health of our hearts. Have a read of our blog here outlining the 5 foods to include in your diet to boost heart health. Leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats, legumes and antioxidant rich foods are all powerful ingredients in the fight against heart disease. Using this information, we have started making these balanced ‘heart health bowls’ regularly. They are so easy to put together and so delicious! There are endless combinations you can make yourselves, but this formula for a balanced bowl ensures you are hitting all five food groups. Do you have any good combos you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • cooked wholegrain – eg brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, barley, bulgur…
  • leafy green – eg kale, cabbage, chard, spinach, spring greens, salad leaves…
  • legumes – cooked beans, chickpeas or lentils
  • antioxidant rich foods – eg berries, beetroot (raw or cooked), red cabbage…
  • healthy fats – eg nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado…
  • seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, herbs or spices to taste)

Method

  1. Cook your wholegrain according to package instructions. Most grains cook with a 1:2 grain:water ratio.
  2. Cook your beans or lentils or use a ready cooked tin for ease. I like to drain the tin of beans/lentils and warm it up in a pan with some olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook your leafy greens and antioxidant rich foods, or serve them raw if you prefer. I usually lightly steam kale and roast beetroot, but in summer I prefer a cold bowl so use salad leaves, raw grated beetroots, shredded cabbage or a handful of berries in the bowl.
  4. Plate up and add some nuts, seeds or other essential healthy fats. Construct your bowls with a combination of the grains, greens, beans and beets and top with some toasted seeds or nuts or a generous drizzle of good olive oil. You can add healthy fats in the form of a dressing too. Try mixing tahini, lemon juice, olive oil etc or a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Ribollita

This classic Tuscan soup is just gorgeous. A hearty combination of white beans, tomatoey broth and seasonal vegetables, most notably kale. What makes this soup extra delicious for me is the combination of garlic, lemon zest, really good olive oil and fragrant rosemary and sage. This is one of those stew-like soups that is better the next day. Once you’ve done all the chopping, it’s really simple to make. Leave it brothy if you like or thicken the soup with torn chunks of stale bread or blend a portion of the beans before adding them. I prefer to leave it brothy then serve the soup over torn bread. Let us know your favourite way of eating ribollita.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • the zest of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins white beans, drained
  • 8 kale leaves, stems finely chopped, leaves torn
  • the juice of a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • stale bread to serve, optional

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion with the olive oil on a medium-high heat until soft and starting to colour. This should take at least 5 minutes.
  2. Then add the diced carrot and celery and the thinly sliced kale stems, season with salt and pepper and stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, lemon zest and chopped herbs. Stir for another minute or two, your kitchen should smell really really good now.
  4. Crumble in the stock cubes and tip in the tin of chopped tomatoes. Fill the tin with water 4 times and pour that water into the pot.
  5. Add the drained beans then bring the soup up to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
  6. Then add the torn kale leaves and the lemon juice to the pot, pop the lid back on and let the leaves wilt for just 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more water if you’d like a brothier soup, blend some of the soup if you’d like it thicker.
  7. Serve in generous bowls, as it is or with torn pieces of stale bread.

Celeriac Steaks

We haven’t grown them for quite a few years so we are delighted to let you know that our celeriac are back! Have you tried one? They’re a gorgeous winter root vegetable. Big and bulbous and full of flavour. Think a hybrid between a potato and a parsnip with a delicate celery flavour. These beasts are stunning in soups and stews, but they also lend themselves nicely to coleslaw, in fact raw, grated celeriac is really gorgeous tossed with a mustardy mayonnaise. I’ll tell you about that another day. But today I am eating celeriac in thick slices, fried like a steak in lots of butter. I LOVE a vegetable steak (cauliflower, portobello, butternut…), it’s a great way to really highlight a vegetable and focus on the flavour. Serve with mashed beans and roasted garlic for lip-smackingly delicious, filling, protein, some wintery greens like kale or cabbage and a creamy wholegrain mustard sauce. Quite a special dish, fit for a date night, but really not very complex to make as you’ll see below. Enjoy!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 celeriac – peel with a small, sharp knife, then cut 4 thick slices out of the middle and save the ends for a soup
  • 1 tin of butterbeans or cannellini beans, any white beans will work
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • kale or cabbage, as much as you like
  • 1 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp corn starch or plain flour
  • oat milk – enough to loosen the pan juices into a thick sauce
  • butter, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Pop a whole bulb of garlic (that’s right, the whole bulb, not just a clove) into a small, oven-proof dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Put it in the oven to bake until soft – around 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the celeriac as above, chop and rinse some greens (kale or cabbage go well here) and put them in a pot with a lid, some seasoning and some butter/oil on the hob. Drain some of the liquid from your tin of butterbeans and pop them into another small pan.
  3. Get your widest frying pan (or use two) on to a medium heat and melt a generous knob of butter with a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Add the celeriac steaks and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally until they are softening and turning a gorgeous caramel colour. They should smell amazing!
  4. When the celeriac are nearly cooked through, take the garlic out of the oven to cool slightly, turn the heat on under the pot of beans and the pot of greens. Cook both, stirring often, until piping hot. Then turn off the heat.
  5. Put the celeriac steaks in a small dish in the oven to keep warm (turn the oven down to 150C so they don’t burn) whilst you make the mash and the sauce.
  6. Pull apart the roasted garlic and squeeze the soft, fragrant flesh into the pan with the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter and mash the beans and garlic into a puree. Or use a stick blender if you’d like your mash extra smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. To the frying pan in which the celeriac steaks were cooked, add a tbsp of flour and a tbsp of wholegrain mustard. Whisk into the buttery, caramelised, celeriac juices that are left in the pan and add a splash of oat milk. Turn the heat up and keep whisking and adding milk until you have a silky, creamy sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper and now you are ready to serve.
  8. Divide the greens and garlicky mash between two plates, add on the steaks then drizzle with the sauce. Have extra wholegrain mustard on the table and enjoy with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

Chilli Non-Carne

You’ll find countless iterations of this recipe on repeat in our house this time of year. Always hearty and wholesome, stuffed full of gorgeous autumnal vegetables and various pulses and grains. A pot of chilli is so versatile. Stick it in a bowl with rice or roasted potato wedges, scoop up with nachos, serve in wraps burrito style or make a batch for a messy-fun taco night. How do you serve your chilli non-carne?

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • 750g diced root veg (I used swede, carrot and beetroot this time)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp each, ground cumin and coriander
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 100g each, dried lentils and quinoa
  • 2 tins of black/kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml water or veg stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional extra few tbsps of a ‘flavour bomb’ eg: soy sauce/coffee/cocoa

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft and starting to colour.
  2. Then add the root vegetables and spices. Stir for a few minutes to release the flavours.
  3. Add the lentils, quinoa, tin of tomatoes and water/stock. Season well with salt and pepper then simmer until the lentils are soft. This should take around 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking and burning on the base of the pot.
  4. Then add the beans, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. I usually add about 3 tbsp of soy sauce or a tbsp or two of cocoa powder to enrich the chilli.
  5. Serve with rice or wedges, in tacos or burritos or however you like! It’s even better the next day so make a big batch and get some in the freezer for a rainy day?

Buddha Bowls

Buddha bowls are all about balance. A vibrant bowl brimming with a diverse selection of grains, pulses, greens, vegetables, nuts or seeds and delicious dressings. They are a brilliant way to build a balanced lunch or dinner from some easily prepped boxes and jars of ingredients in your fridge. To me, they are the ultimate quick-but-satisfying working lunch, and a delicious way to pack in your 30 recommended ‘plant points’ per week. Buddha bowls are basically salads dialled up to 11 and in my old life running a cafe they were always the best sellers.

Here’s my flexible ‘recipe’ of what I happened to include in this week’s buddha bowl prep. But please just use it as a basic framework, the joy of Buddha bowls is making them your own using what you have and getting creative in the kitchen. Share your amazing Buddha bowl pictures with us over on our community facebook group. We love to see what you’ve made with our wonderful organic produce (and we all need a bit of inspiration sometimes).

Liz x

Ingredients

  • VEGETABLES for roasting (eg sweet potato, cauliflower, squash, beetroot, swede, parsnips, onion, carrots, peppers, aubergine, courgettes, tomatoes… whatever comes in your box)
  • GREENS (eg kale, broccoli, sprouts, salad leaves, spinach, chard, cabbage…)
  • GRAINS and/or PULSES (eg quinoa, chickpeas, beans, lentils, pasta, rice, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, cous cous…)
  • NUTS/SEEDS (eg toasted sunflower seeds, dukka, za’atar, furikaki, mixed nuts…)
  • DRESSINGS (eg lemon juice and olive oil, vinaigrette, tahini sauce, pesto, harissa, soy-lime-sesame, mayonaise… try and match your dressing to the other ingredients in your bowl)
  • optional extra PROTEINS (eg hummus, tofu, tempeh, falafel, cheeses…)
  • extra TOPPINGS for flavour and texture (eg ferments, pickles, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, chopped fresh cucumber/tomato/radish/scallions, herbs, sprouts, microgreens…)

Method

***Be realistic about how much food to prepare. Bear in mind that prepared food will stay fresh in airtight boxes in the fridge for 3 days so only make 3 days worth of food at a time.***

Start with roasting VEGETABLES. I like to divide mine into two trays – harder, slower cooking vegetables like roots and winter squashes in one and softer, faster cooking ‘med veg’ like peppers, tomatoes, courgettes in another.

Scrub and chop your chosen vegetables and put them into roasting trays with a little olive oil and seasoning (I like to keep the seasoning neutral with just salt and pepper at this stage so I can play with flavours when I plate up).

Roast in a hot oven until the vegetables are soft. Allow them to cool completely them pack them into boxes in the fridge.

Meanwhile cook some GRAINS/PULSES. I often cook a batch of orzo pasta (once your pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water and toss with some olive oil to keep it fresh) and a batch of quinoa to get us through a few working lunches. You could skip this bit of prep and cook your grains on the day though if you’ll have time? Some warm rice with ready roasted veg and dressings is a brilliant lunch.

Or just use ready cooked tins of beans or lentils – I do this often, simply open, drain and rinse a tin of chickpeas/beans/lentils and serve with the prepped veg and dressings for the speediest lunch. We sell a range of organic tinned pulses which you can add to your veg order here.

Quinoa is very easy to cook, just like rice. Measure out a small mug into a fine sieve, give it a rinse then pop it into a small pot with two scant mugs of water. Bring to the boil with the lid on, then immediately turn to the lowest setting and let it simmer until it has absorbed all the water and released its little tails. Let the quinoa cool down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

Cook a big batch of GREENS. Purple sprouting broccoli and kale are my favourite at the moment and I just steam fry them in a pot with a little seasoning until they are tender. If I get salad leaves in my weekly veg box I’ll make sure I use those first as they don’t last more than 2 or 3 days.

Make a couple of DRESSINGS to keep things interesting. I love a simple vinaigrette (mix 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and add other seasonings like 1 tsp of mustard, a tiny bit of maple syrup, a pinch of salt and pepper…) or a creamy tahini sauce (mix 3 tbsp of tahini with the juice of half a lemon, a splash of water and seasoning like a pinch of salt and garlic powder). I also like to make harissa, pesto, chilli jam, aioli etc so whatever sauces/dressings I have to hand will get used in my buddha bowls.

Prepare NUTS/SEEDS, PROTEINS and extra TOPPINGS. Have a look at my tamari toasted seeds recipe here. Or simply use mixed nuts or seeds to add crunch and extra nutrition to your bowl. Keep a selection of ferments (sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented onions…), olives, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes etc to add another layer of flavour and texture to your bowls. There is already loads of protein going on in all the ingredients above, but if you like you can add even more protein to your bowls by adding a dollop of hummus, some slices of cheese, avocado, tempeh, tofu and so on.

Once you have filled your fridge with a selection of ready cooked delicious ingredients, then it’s a simple matter of building your bowl when you are hungry. I like to try and keep the flavours in a way that vaguely makes geographical or cultural sense. So I’ll have pasta, pesto, roasted med veg, olives, greens.. one day, then roasted roots, tahini dressing, chickpeas, harissa, hummus… another day. Rice, kimchi, greens, furikaki and tempeh another day. It doesn’t always work out like that with perfectly matching flavours, there have been some ‘interesting’ fusions happening, but certainly never a dull bowl!