Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

I got a giant sweet potato from the shops the other day, one of those really huge ones that look so much fun, until you have to try and peel them…
But I persevered, and a good job too as without it I wouldn’t have been able to make this delicious salad!
The sweet potato is roasted so it gets lovely caramelised bits, and then mixed with creamy cannellini beans, baby spinach leaves and crispy baked cavolo nero.
Simply finished with lemon zest, juice and basil leaves it made a lovely work lunch filled with great texture and flavour.


Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

makes 3 to 4 servings

1 400 g tin of cannellini beans, drained
1 really big sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 big leaves of cavolo nero, thickest section of stem removed and cut into pieces roughly 4 x 4 cm
2 tbsp oil
50 g baby spinach, roughly chopped
juice and zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
Put 1 .5 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin along with the sweet potato and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast for around 25 minutes, turning once, until the sweet potato is soft and caramelised in places.
Remove from the tin to cool.
For the cavolo nero, pour the remaining 0.5 tbsp of oil into the palm of your hand and add a little salt. Swiftly rub your hand together to distribute the oil over both, and then rub it into the cavolo nero pieces, making sure they are all coated.
Transfer to the roasting tin and bake for around 10 minutes until crisp. Keep an eye on it and check after 5 minutes, it burns quickly and if that happens it does not taste good.
Toss together the beans, sweet potato, spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest and basil along with a pinch of black pepper.
Add the cavolo nero just before serving, otherwise it will lose its crispness.

By E.


Lentil and pineapple curry with cauliflower and cavolo nero

I may have admitted this before, but I’m an absolute sucker for pineapple in savoury dishes!

This recipe is based on a dhansak, which from Indian takeaways in my neck of the woods, always comes with tinned pineapple in it. I’m pretty sure that’s not authentic but it’s really delicious and comforting!

A dhansak also usually includes rather a lot of garlic, as well as onions and a little chilli, but as usual I’m avoiding using them when cooking for myself and Alex. So as well as the fragrant spice mix, I’ve used a base of carrot and celery, plenty of ginger, and some asafoetida powder. Asafoetida has an oniony flavour, so it’s great to add depth to this sort of recipe. It can be bitter if you add too much though! Bay leaf and black salt also add layers of flavour, and the spiced lentil sauce works beautifully with the sweet pineapple, fresh cauliflower and slightly bitter cavolo nero.


Lentil and pineapple curry with cauliflower and cavolo nero

serves 4 – 6


for the vegetables

500 g cauliflower, stem and leaves too, cut into bite sized pieces

100 g cavolo nero, sliced

1.1 litre water

for the spice mix

3 cm cassia bark

1 tsp fennel seed

1 1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 1/2 tsp coriander seed

7 cardamom pods, seeds only

1/4 tsp black pepper seeds

for the sauce

3 tbsp oil

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 tbsp chopped ginger

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 bay leaf

200 g red lentils

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

3 rings of tinned pineapple, cut into pieces

1/2 tsp black salt (or normal salt)

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped


First get the vegetables cooking. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the cauliflower and cavolo nero. Simmer for 6 – 8 minutes until tender. Drain the vegetables, but save the cooking water, you’ll need it to cook the lentils.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.

While the vegetables are cooking, take a heavy ovenproof casserole pan and put it on a medium low heat. Add the cassia, fennel, cumin and coriander and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a pestle and mortar along with the cardamom seeds and black pepper. Pound until the cassia is powdered, or in small enough bits not to be gritty in the curry.

Heat the oil in the same pan you toasted the spices in, and add the celery and carrot. Cook, stirring every so often for around 10 minutes until starting to caramelise and soften. Add the spice mix and ginger and stir for 1 -2 minutes to allow the spices to lose the raw flavour. Add a little more oil if it looks dry.

Put the lentils, turmeric, asafoetida, bay leaf, cherry tomatoes and 600 ml of reserved water from the vegetable cooking into the pan, stir well and bring to a simmer on the hob. Cover and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes.

After this time, the lentils should be collapsed into the stock. Beat the lentils with a wooden spoon to break them up and make them smoother and creamy. Add the salt to taste, and a little more of the cooking water if the lentils are thick. Stir the pineapple, coriander and vegetables through the lentils, and heat through on the hob to serve.


By E.


Cavolo nero, mushroom and broad bean salad with tahini dressing

I think I’m going to be having a bit of a run on tahini based dressings this week…

It’s ages since I’ve had any, but I’ve got a nice big jar now and I’m really enjoying the flavour again! It worked really well in yesterday’s Chinese inspired recipe.

I’ve also recently discovered that tinned broad beans are actually rather nice, I’m not sure why I’d discounted them before. So I’ve combined the beans with some beautiful slightly bitter cavolo nero and juicy mushrooms, salty olives and capers, and a nutty tahini dressing with a drop of vinegar to temper the warm flavour of the sesame seeds. I’m serving it with a little couscous and rocket to make a balanced, and very tasty meal, with great textures.


Cavolo nero, mushroom and broad bean salad with tahini dressing

serves 2


100 g cavolo nero, shredded

100 g mushrooms, quartered

1 tsp oil

1 300 g tin of broad beans (195 g when drained)

75 g green olives, halved if large (mine are the type stuffed with almonds)

5 large capers, quartered (the type with the long stem)

2 tsp tahini

50 ml water

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

75 g gluten free couscous

100 ml boiling water

35 g rocket

salt and pepper


Put the couscous, 100 ml of boiling water and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir, cover, and leave for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.

Heat the oil in a saute pan on a medium heat. Add the cavolo nero, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often for 4 minutes. Turn the heat down low and continue to cook (and stir), for a further 6 minutes. The mushrooms should be juicy, and the cavolo nero should be just turning tender, you still want a bit of chew in it.

While the vegetables are cooking make the dressing. Stir together the tahini, water, vinegar and a pinch of salt. It’ll take a bit of mixing to get it to come together!

Add the dressing and the drained broad beans to the vegetables and toss together so everything is nicely coated. Leave to cool.

For each serving, put a bed of rocket and couscous in a shallow bowl, then the vegetable tahini mixture, and top with olives and capers.


By E.