As I look out of the window today I can see that Autumn is upon us. With the leaves turning to reds, oranges and golds and the nip in the air, summer is all but a memory. Autumn is my favourite season of the year. It brings with it bracing walks, followed by warming hearty foods, spices, candles, open fires, slippers and a nice bottle of red wine and when the weather is cold, dark and wet, what better way to cheer yourself up than have something comforting and warming to eat.
This vegetarian bean bake is just that and it is also nutritious and healthy.
You can serve it with a salad or veg and warm crusty bread or potatoes.
To make, you will need:
Deep frying pan
1 red onion
100g cherry tomatoes
2 large carrots
2 medium courgettes
1 tin cannelini beans
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
½ pint vegetable stock
Salt &pepper to season
1 Dessertspoon cornflour
5 slices hard/stale wholemeal bread
100g vegetarian cheese
Begin by peeling and chopping the carrots, courgette and swede into 1 cm chunks.
Finely dice the pepper and onion, quarter the cherry tomatoes and mince the garlic cloves. Add these to the pan with a little oil and simmer for 10 minutes until the veg begins to soften.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of paprika and mixed herbs into the pan along with salt and pepper to season.
Drain the beans and pour into the casserole dish along with the tinned tomatoes.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of the vegetable stock with the cornflour and pour this into the casserole dish along with the rest of the stock.
Now add the pan contents to the casserole dish and give it a good stir to mix it all together.
This needs to go into the oven at about 180c/gas 4/360f for 30 minutes to let it all cook through.
Whilst this is cooking, blitz the bread in a food processor or blender to make the breadcrumbs. I like to add a few mixed herbs in to give a bit of flavour. Grate the cheese.
After 30 minutes, bring out the casserole and spread the cheese and breadcrumbs all over the surface and place back into the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the breadcrumbs.
When this is baked, serve with the salad/veg and some nice warm crusty bread or buttery potatoes. This will go nicely with the vegan white wine Pinot Grigio Trentino Doc from Sainsburys at around £6 per bottle.