5. Beans
As a vegetarian, beans are a great way to get some protein. I eat a fair amount of meat-style Quorn products (although I will probably rarely feature them on this blog), but beans are great for when I fancy something a bit different as my protein.
Before anyone tells me off, the title of this recipe should really be ‘bean casserole which has been baked’ rather than ‘baked bean casserole’ – there are no tins of Heinz baked beans in sight. The fact that this casserole is baked not only makes it a slightly lazier dish (you can stick it in the oven and leave it for half an hour rather than needing to constantly stir), but if you’re lucky it should also get a lovely crispy edge. Don’t worry if it appears to be drying out – underneath it will still be a delicious moist casserole.
Of course I couldn’t post a recipe that didn’t include at least a little cheese, so I topped this casserole with a small amount of feta cheese – it goes with the black olives in the casserole to give it a Greek feel.
Rather than serving this with rice or something, which I thought would be too heavy, I made some small garlic croutons. They went really well with the Greek flavours and added a bit of crunch.

Greek style baked bean casserole with garlic croutons

Serves 3-4

1tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pepper, diced
1 courgette, diced
4 medium-sized mushrooms, diced
100g black olives, halved
400g tin cannelini beans (240g drained)
400g tin black eyed beans (240g drained)
400g chopped tomatoes
400ml water
1tsp mixed herbs
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Black pepper

To serve:
50g feta cheese, crumbled
9-12 garlic croutons (recipe here)

Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).

In a large, oven-proof saucepan, heat the oil and soften the garlic, onion and pepper, and after a few minutes add the mushrooms and courgette. Once softened, add the other ingredients and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Transfer the casserole to the oven, uncovered. After around 10 minutes, put the garlic croutons in the oven also (recipe here).
Once the croutons are cooked (around 20 minutes), serve the casserole topped with a little crumbled feta cheese and the garlic croutons.