This was lunch today, after a vigorous gym session. It didn’t take long to prepare, although I did have a big dish of butter beans, already cooked, in the fridge. It was filling, even tho it was less than 300 calories, and 3 hours later, I am not in the least bit hungry. It tasted really good with the carrots. A tasty lunch from the simplest of simple ingredients. If the pitta bread in the picture looks more like a nan, that’s because it is! I got what I thought was a pitta out of the freezer, but it turned out to be a nan instead.
250g carrots, Asda 1kg/57p, 14p
4 pitta, 49p/6, 33p
150g dried butter beans, or 380g cooked ones, 500g (dried) £1.09, 9p
20ml veg oil, £1.25/litre, 2p
the zest and juice of half a lemon, less 1 tsp, 32p, 16p
Serves 4. Total cost 74p, 18p per serving. I priced this up again today, so I am using current prices. Asda don’t seem to do value pitta any more. On their site today, 1 pk of 6 is 49p, or 3 for £1, bringing it down to 33p a pk. I have priced it in the recipe using just 1 pk.
per serving, 284 calories, 12g protein, 5g fat, 48g carb
If your butter beans are dried, soak them for several hours, preferably overnight, then simmer gently until very soft. If they are tinned ones, drain and rinse. Now mash them up well. A food processor will do the job in a few seconds, if you don’t have one, you will need to use a fork. It will take a while to do with a fork, but is doable. If you are using tinned ones, I think this amount would be 1.5 tins. At 62p a tin, considerably more than the 9p of dried ones. So dried ones are much cheaper if you can bear the preparation.
Now zest in the half lemon and the juice. If you are following Meal Plan 4, you will need to reserve a tsp of the juice for the Gigantes Plaki recipe. Add the last tbslp of oil from your meal plan 4 bottle, squeezing out those last drops. Season well with salt and pepper, fresh ground if at all possible. Mix everything thoroughly. The oil helps to bind everything together and the mixture will smooth out to a creamy texture after a minute or 2 of mixing. If you have any olive oil, now would be a good time to use it. I used some lovely oil I got from a local Greek restaurant that they grow on the family farm in Greece and I could really taste that it was olive oil in the pate. Don’t worry if you don’t have any, it will still be delicious.
Divide the mixture into portions and serve each one with a quarter of the carrots, cut up into sticks and 1 of the pitta’s. If you are somewhere with a toaster, toast the pitta and serve warm with a smear of butter if you have it.
This will travel very well for a lunch not at home. You can use any dried bean in place of the butter beans. You can add many other flavours too. My fallback flavouring of grainy mustard, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, either mixed in or drizzled over, ditto caramelised onions. Or some fine chopped herbs, rosemary, basil, mint or thyme. Some chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, fine chopped chilli. Or some Brinjal pickle, any home made pickle or chutney, Branston type pickle, picallilli, creamed coconut. You could add fine chopped apricots, raisins, dates or apples.
And as butter beans are so neutral in flavour, you could sweeten it with any sugar and have the fruit with it. So maybe jaggery, muscovado or crunchy Demerara, with apple slices to dip. You could even add some chocolate chips or cocoa powder if you want, or jam or fruit compote on top. So maybe coconut and chocolate chip with apple slices and pitta. Yum!
If they are red kidney beans, you need to soak them and fast boil them for 10 minutes first to get rid of toxins.
Anywhere between 3 and 6 hours. You get a nice even cook in a slow cooker, so it’s perfect for this
How long does it take to cook dried beans in a slow cooker?
Yes, that would be fine, and easier too. I rarely use tinned as I have always used dried. They work out cheaper if you can be faffed to cook them, and personally, I think they have more flavour. I would keep an eye on them in this hot weather and be prepared to freeze half, maybe at the beginning of the week, then get them out again for the second half of the week.
Slow cookers are great for cooking beans. If you do kidney beans that way, they have to have a hard boil for ten minutes first. Something in them that is deactivated by the boil.
Hi Lesley, I’m looking to follow this meal plan next week and just had a question about the butter beans. Could I cook them all in one batch then keep in the fridge to use as needed? Only ever used tinned before. I’ve got a 3 litre slow cooker I was thinking of using, possibly overnight.
My pleasure 🙂