Recipe: Butter Bean Pie

Butter Bean Pie

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been making a lot of one-pot meals, for example curries and pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I love curries and pasta but a) they don’t photograph well (at least not when I take a photo of them, anyway) so I end up not putting them on the blog and; b) sometimes I just want something a bit more traditional. And what could be more traditional than a pie?

I haven’t been completely honest here because, although it’s true I fancied something that wasn’t curry or pasta, my main motivation for making something different to curry or pasta was wanting to use up the tin of butter beans I’d found in the cupboard.

Rose Elliot has written a whole cookery book based on beans – The Bean Book – so I had a look in there and saw her bean and leek pie. Knowing The Meat Eater likes a) butter beans and; b) leeks, I knew he’d give it the thumbs up (or at the very least, an appreciative grunt).

I used Flora in this pie but it could be easily veganised by using a dairy-free spread such as Pure or Vitalite.

Vegetarian Butter Bean Pie

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Recipe: Butter Bean Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from the recipe in Rose Elliot's 'The Bean Book'
Cuisine: Vegetarian but easily veganised
Serves: 4
  • 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 50g butter
  • 225g carrots, diced
  • 450g leeks, sliced
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 225g tinned tomatoes
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 225g ready rolled puff pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the carrots, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes
  3. Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook for a further 10 minutes
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and mix in well
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and dried thyme and cook gently, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until thickened
  6. Add the beans and season with the salt and pepper
  7. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and leave to cool slightly
  8. Cover the top of the pie with the puff pastry and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until golden brown


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Tomato rice soup with haricot beans (vegan)


The other day, I made a soup so disgusting I had to throw it away. It was a dal soup from a Rose Elliot cookbook and the recipe called for water, not stock, and this made me dubious. But, you know, it’s Rose Elliot; I thought, ‘it’s okay, Rose knows what she’s doing’. She didn’t in this case, I can tell you. It was vile.

Today’s soup is from the mighty Veganomicon cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This also called for water not stock but I thought, ‘ha, not being fooled again’ and ignored Isa and used stock. Actually, I ignored quite a lot of her instructions as she does tend to make things more difficult for herself (and therefore more difficult for the lazy cook) and so I didn’t roast any garlic and I used Basmati rice,  not long-grain brown rice (she said short grain rice doesn’t like tomato broth, but it turned out fine). Because Veganomicon uses US terms and measurements, I had to spend three hours on Google finding out what a 28-ounce can of tomatoes is in English. Apparently it’s two of our usual size ones. They also call haricot beans, navy beans, which is a bit odd when they’re a kind of beige. Maybe the marketing bods didn’t think ‘beige beans’ would sell well.

I’m going to post what I used and how I did it; if you want to know how the expert that is Isa did it, you’ll have to buy Veganomicon. You should buy it anyway, it’s fab, although a lot of the recipes have a lot of ingredients, have a lot of steps and take a lot of time.

This is in no way a ‘drink soup with one hand while mousing around the internet with the other’ soup. You’ll need a spoon to drink it with, possibly even a knife and fork.

Tomato rice soup with haricot beans (serves 4)
(adapted from Veganomicon)

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup Basmati rice (or other rice)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and black pepper
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
450ml vegetable stock

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stock.
  4. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  5. Add the beans and heat through.
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Lentil and mushroom soup


Since recently discovering cheese-topped baps in Tesco, they’d become my lunch, filled with Violife vegan cheese slices, vegan mayo and salad (yes, I know there’s not really much point putting vegan cheese and vegan mayo into dairy cheese-topped baps but I’ve still got loads of Violife cheese slices to use up and I prefer vegan mayo to the eggy stuff).

But after eating homemade muffins and sultana loaf and having pizza and galic bread over the weekend, I was a bit breaded out. So, today I went back to making soup (I should have been meeting uni friends for pancakes but the screenwriting tutorial timetable scuppered that plan).

Today’s soup was lentil and mushroom, taken from Rose Elliot’s The Bean Book.

I’m going to post the recipe as it appears in the book (well, sort of) but it was way too thick to blend at the end, so I added about 300ml more stock. This soup is thick, tasty, salty and earthy.

Lentil and mushroom soup (serves 4 not very hungry people)
(from The Bean Book, by Rose Elliot)

125g green lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g butter
125g mushrooms, chopped
900ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, then add the lentils and stock.
  3. Simmer gently, covered, for about 1 hour until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blend in a food processor or blender and season with salt and pepper.
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Aubergine and pasta bake

The Meat Eater looked at his plate and said ‘this looks suspiciously vegan’. Huh? It was covered with cheese and not the slightest bit vegan. The boy is paranoid.


It’s a recipe adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. The only bit I adapted was where she uses wholemeal auelli; I used non-wholemeal pasta (as I get moaned at if I use wholemeal despite the taste and texture being identical) and spirals, not auelli (as I haven’t a clue what auelli looks like and anyway, I had spirals in the cupboard).

Also, I didn’t fry the aubergine slices as that’s too fiddly and takes too long. Instead, I brushed some oil over them and roasted them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Oh, and I used a large can of tomatoes, not 225g.

I didn’t use an egg, either.

And I only used one onion, not two.

Okay, I adapted it quite a lot.


Pasta and aubergine bake (serves 4)
(Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian)

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
450g aubergine
75g pasta shapes
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp dried oregano
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Fry the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Slice the aubergine into thin rounds, brush with oil and bake in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain.
  4. Mix the pasta, tomatoes, ketchup and oregano with the onions and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the aubergine slices in the base of a greased shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon the pasta mixture on top, cover with the rest of the aubergine slices and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Butter bean and tomato soup

rose-elliot-the-bean-bookJust because it’s 27C outside, that doesn’t mean I can’t have soup for lunch does it? Nope, thought not. I’d recently bought The Bean Book by Rose Elliot (it’s been in my wishlist for ages after reading all the great reviews on amazon) and made myself some butter bean and tomato soup.

And very nice it was too. Although I did have a dilemma at the end – to blend or not to blend? I decided to blend as I do like a one-handed soup, leaving my other hand free to mouse around the internet with.

All the recipes in the book use dried beans but you can substitute 100g of dried beans for a 400g tin. In the recipe below, I’ve used tinned beans and left out the soaking, draining, rinsing and boiling malarkey.

For a vegan version, fry the onions in oil instead of butter.


Butter bean and tomato soup (serves 4)
(Taken from The Bean Book by Rose Elliot)

2 tins butter beans, drained
900ml/1.5 pints vegetable stock
1 bayleaf
2 large onions, sliced
25g/1oz/2tbsp butter
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fry the onions in the butter until soft – about 10 minutes – then add the beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

If you’re going to blend it, remember to remove the bayleaf.

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Omelette cannelloni with spinach filling

I’ve made this a couple of times and I’ve obviously been in a hurry to eat it before photographing it, as it’s not on my blog already.


I love cannelloni but gave up trying to stuff those tubes years ago and I find using fresh lasagne isn’t the same. This is much easier and although it doesn’t beat a real pasta cannelloni, it’s a gorgeous alternative.

The recipe is adapted from Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Supercook. I used cheddar instead of Parmesan-style cheese and left out the nutmeg. It also only made 6 omelettes not 8 (although you could make thinner omelettes) and served it between the two of us, not the four the recipe states. Also, it took nowhere near 25 minutes in the oven, it was more like 15.


Omelette cannelloni with spinach filling (serves 4)

750g spinach, washed
125g low-fat soft cream cheese
8 tbsp grated Parmesan-style cheese
Grated nutmeg
4 eggs
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Put the spinach with just the water clinging to the leaves into a large saucepan, cover and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
  2. Add the cream cheese to the spinach along with 4 tbsp of the Parmesan-style cheese. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs with the water and salt and pepper to taste. Brush a frying pan (preferably non-stick) with a little of the olive oil and heat, then pour in enough of the egg – about 2 tbsp – to make a small omelette. Cook for a few seconds, until it is set, then lift out on to a plate. Continue in this way until you have about 8 small omelettes, piling them up on top of each other.
  4. Spoon a little of the spinach mixture on to the edge of one of the omelettes, roll it up and place in a shallow gratin dish. Fill the remaining omelettes in the same way, until all the spinach mixture is used, placing them snugly side by side in the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan-style cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven, 190C/Gas Mark 5, for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
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Lentil and mushroom soup

This soup is hearty, earthy and filling. I do love soup but I’m looking forward to having some salad weather eventually.


Lentil and mushroom soup (serves 4)
Taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
125g mushrooms, chopped
125g green or Puy lentils
850ml vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan for 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

Add the lentils and the stock. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Blend the soup if you want a smoother texture and thin it with a bit more water if you wish.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Black-eyed pea bake


I had a few dilemmas with this. Were black-eyed beans the same as black-eyed peas, as that’s all I could find in the supermarket? After a bit of a Google, I decided they were.

Then, the recipe called for 350g of dried peas/beans. Fine, I weighed out 350g of beans and left them to soak overnight. Oh, that’s a LOT of beans. Do I really need all of them? I didn’t think so and weighed out 350g of the soaked beans, freezing the rest.

While reading the method, it said to fry the onions and garlic and add the beans then cover with water and boil, then whizz up in a food processor. Won’t there be a load of water? Do I drain it first or what? Still, I didn’t need to worry about that, as the water got absorbed or evaporated or something, so all was fine there.

Rose Elliot, in her book New Complete Vegetarian, says this bake goes well with a spicy tomato sauce or a vegetarian gravy and, if you’re like me and not a make-your-own-gravy kind of girl, I can confirm that Bisto complements it beautifully.

I was mega-made-up with this dish. How nice can some puréed beans with breadcrumbs on top be, I thought? Flipping gorgeous!


Black-eyed pea bake (serves 4)
Taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

350g dried black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
2 large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g grated cheese

  1. Drain and rinse the peas.
  2. Fry the onions and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender but not browned, then add the peas, herbs and water to cover.
  3. Simmer gently, until the peas are tender (about 25-40 minutes).
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  5. Purée the pea mixture in a food processor or with an electric hand blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a greased, shallow ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.
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Spinach and lentil soup

Operation Stop Being A Fat Lazy Cow began yesterday and although I had a slice of cheese and onion pie for dinner, it was home made and therefore sort of healthy. Healthier than frozen pie and chips, anyway.

Today, I made spinach and lentil soup which is one of those soups that makes you feel healthier just by looking at it.


Spinach and lentil soup (serves 4)
Taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
125g green lentils
225g spinach leaves
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tsp lemon juice

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, with a lid on the pan, until the onion is almost tender and flecked with brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic, lentils and spinach, then pour in the stock or water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently, with a lid on the pan, for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
  3. Blend the soup, then season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice.
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Rose Elliot’s cheese and onion pie

This was more of an onion and cheese pie, than cheese and onion, as although there was a ton of cheese in it, it must have dissolved, as it didn’t come out very cheesy. Still, it tasted good, and it was quick, cheap and easy to make.


Cheese and onion pie (serves 6)
Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

1 tbsp oil
450g onions, sliced
1 packet of puff pastry
225g grated cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Beaten egg or milk, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 7.
Fry the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes.
Divide the pastry in half.
Mix the onions with the cheese and seasoning, then spoon on top of the pastry. Moisten the edges of the pastry with cold water.
Use the rest of the pastry to cover the pie, pressing the edges together.
Brush with the beaten egg or milk if you want a shiny finish, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

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