OK, there is no denying it. We are starting to put on the heating and light the fires. As the weather starts to get more wintery, we change our wardrobes and also our eating habits. To help us stay warm this winter, we naturally begin to eat more soups, stews and casseroles, using warming herbs and spices. So what do we need to remember?
This week I am going to concentrate on beans and lentils, because they are often forgotten by soup and stew makers! I thicken all of my soups with beans and in this way, I can add more fibre, antioxidants and protein to my soups. This means that you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer, helping with weight, concentration and digestive health.
If you have picky eaters you can simply blend them in and nobody knows. You can buy beans in tins from your supermarket; however, watch out for added salt and thickeners. The most common types are chickpeas, lentils, butter, cannellini and red kidney beans.
I came home hungry the other night and managed to cook up this meal in about 30 minutes – just what you need on an Autumnal evening!
- 2 medium or 1 large sweet potato - cubed
- 3 cloves of garlic – chopped
- 1 inch root ginger – grated
- 3 shallots or onions - chopped
- 2 tins of cannellini – washed and drained
- 1 litre of boiling water or stock
- A small bunch of chives
- 1 sprig of mint and 1 sprig of sage - de-stalked
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Saute the onions in a little water for 5-10 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and stir.
- Roughly chop the herbs.
- Add the sweet potato, ginger, chopped herbs and salt and pepper and stir well – cover and leave for 5 minutes to sweat.
- Add the boiling water, bring to boil, and then reduce down to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Once the sweet potato is cooked (it falls apart when you mash it with a spoon), add the beans, and leave to cook for another few minutes.
- Next blitz with a hand blender or place in a liquidiser and blend well. If you feel it’s too thick, add a little more boiling water and blend. I found the herbs and spices in this were really tasty and I didn’t have to add any more salt or pepper.
- Serve immediately.
- Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free