National Vegetarian Week 2013 – Gail’s Butter Bean Pie

Happy National Vegetarian Week! This year I’m setting myself the challenge of cooking seven new recipes, with a particular focus on vegan dishes. Each day I will post a photo, a summary of the recipe and my verdict on whether the meal will make its way into my repertoire.

Cheesy butter bean bake with salad

Cheesy butter bean bake with salad

The first new recipe I tried for this NVW is decidedly not vegan due to its delicious cheesy topping: it’s Gail’s Butter Bean Pie from the Vegetarian Society’s Surprisingly Simple recipe collection. To be honest, I don’t think I would call it a pie. The butter bean and tomato mix was quite liquid (despite the recipe’s suggestion to add more liquid if necessary, I think I should have actually drained some) and didn’t really hold together very well. I shall probably rename it Cheesy Butter Bean Bake, which has the advantage of alliteration!

It is indeed very simple to make: onion and garlic chopped and fried together, then the chopped tomatoes and butter beans stirred in and warmed through. The topping is cottage cheese, cheddar and an egg whisked together and spread over the top. The whole thing is baked for 35 minutes or so. I was concerned that the liquid might bubble over and make a horrible mess, but it came out of the oven beautifully set (probably thanks to the egg).

The flavour is quite subtle, but I suspect that has a lot to do with the fact that I skipped the black pepper and the tomato puree as I didn’t have either of those things on hand (I also used a lot less Cheddar than the recipe suggests, as I only had about 60g in the fridge, but it was fine). I think the pepper in particular would have been nice. I served it with salad but it would have been great with boiled potatoes and broccoli, spinach, asparagus or some other green veg.

I probably will make this cheesy butter bean bake again at some point, although I doubt it would freeze well so it might be a good thing to make when friends or family are coming round – I’ll be eating the leftovers for the next few days! Although the website claims it serves six, I think it probably divides into four if the only side is salad. A bit more bulk from some vegetables would balance it out better.

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