November has been World Vegan Month, and while I’m a long way off from becoming a full-time vegan, I have been enjoying experimenting with more vegan dishes and am keen to make a greater proportion of my diet plant-based.
Not all my family are with me in this though – my husband and youngest daughter in particular. So mealtimes can invariably be quite a divisive affair. Anything meat-free or a meat-alternative will usually get frowned upon and tutted at, and generally scoffed at rather than scoffed.
But not this bean casserole, which has become a familiar and easy staple this autumn. Hearty, tasty, one pot cooking – it’s simple and satisfying.
When HECK sent me samples of their new vegan range of sausages to try out, I reckoned they’d be the perfect accompaniment to this casserole.
HECK say the recipe for their new sausages has been four years in the making and, as well as being plant-based and gluten-free, they’re all high fibre too. What I really liked about them – and possibly what my husband and daughter didn’t – is they’re not ‘fake meat’. I really don’t like those veggie sausages that pretend to be meat. That fake meat texture really doesn’t do it for me. Bleurghh! With these sausages, you really taste the veggies, pulses and spices – they’re the stars here.
At £3 for a pack of six sausages, the range includes four recipes:
- Sweet Fusion: fragrant Thai pesto, sweet potato & sticky rice
- The Beet Goes On: beetroot, carrot, chilli and horseradish
- Super Greens: quinoa, spinach, kale, ginger and mint
- Bollywood: cauliflower, green lentils, pulses and seeds, spiced with chilli, ginger, cumin and turmeric.
The spicy Bollywoods are my favourites, while the teenager is rather partial to The Beet Goes On, with a cheeky kick of horseradish. The Super Greens are great too, but a rather alarming colour…
But as I say the others weren’t impressed, and wanted to know why they couldn’t have ‘real’ bangers. Ah well, you can’t please everyone all the time I guess.
Easy bean casserole
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large celery sticks, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 large courgette, roughly diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
750ml vegetable stock
100g kale, stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped
410g tin of borlotti beans, drained
410g tin of cannellini beans, drained
half a lemon
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large heavy pan over a medium heat. Add the celery and carrots and cook for five minutes or so, stirring often. Then add the leeks and cook for another couple of minutes or so before stirring in the caraway seeds, courgette, oregano and garlic.
Give it another five minutes, before adding the tomatoes and stock. Stir in the kale, then bring to the boil and then simmer without a lid for around half an hour. Stir every now and then. Cook until the vegetables are just tender.
Tip in the beans and warm through for a few minutes. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste.
Serve with some tasty vegan sausages, a bowlful of hot, fluffy rice or a big pile of garlicky mashed potato.
If you’d like to try out more vegan recipes, you’ll find some delicious ideas on the The Vegan Society’s website, along with info on their new app VeGuide app with everything you need to start your own vegan journey.
Disclosure: I was supplied with complimentary samples for review purposes. As ever all views expressed are mine and only products I genuinely like make it onto my blog – and I’ll let you know if not all the family agree with me!