I’ve been away this last week on a brief tour of South Wales, not a typical holiday but one I have returned home from with two very typical concerns- an expanding waistline and an almost empty fridge. Gah!
I’m sure the former is familiar to most of us- there’s something about being away that just lets us cheat without really caring. Maybe it’s a matter of geography, that you leave your healthy brain at home on the sofa for a kip while you wander off to territories new, or hot, or exciting or Welsh. And there the little voice stays, quieting and weakening as it is gradually smothered in a layer of cheese and bread and chocolate and wine and pastries and more wine until all you can hear is that universal trickster devilry from every corner, simply saying oh go on, you’re on holiday….
I try every year and I never beat the abounding temptations, neither do I manage to do enough walking or swimming to counteract their fattening effects. One simply has to say I’ll be good when I get home, and this time I did put a small amount of thought into having something edible and not evil available on my return to avoid further dietary damage in the form of the inevitable pizza call out.
OK fine, so I still made that call out when I got home last night BUT due to late availability of supermarket delivery slots the cupboards were similarly bare again this evening. My will to cook, however, was full to the brim. My longlife store cupboard options were bacon, various tinned things, garlic, dried piri piris and a spring cabbage that was starting to look a bit sad around the edges. Cue one of my favourite, most satisfying week day dinners- Beans n Bacon.
What follows is neither spectacular not ground breaking, it is however quick, easy, mega tasty and packed with slimming friendly fibre and protein to fill you up plus some complex carbs and vitamin c. It’s a real comfort dinner and the creaminess from the cannellini beans can fool you into thinking it’s a lot less good for you than it actually is. So here we go.
You will need:
Bacon- fat trimming optional
Tinned cannellini beans (Asda organic ones suit me best)
Spring cabbage or ‘spring greens’
I will leave off quantities here as tastes will vary, but assuming you use three rashers of bacon (fat and all) and one can of beans per person you wont go more over 500 calories per serving. I believe this is free on slimming world if you trim the bacon, otherwise the bacon fat (or olive oil) will be the only syns.
To start, roughly chop up your bacon- if you’re keeping the fat on then put this straight into a hot pan with nothing else or if you have trimmed it you will need a smidge of olive oil to avoid it sticking. Add in your garlic, minced or chopped (I like 2 fat cloves per serving) and cook for a couple of minutes until the bacon is opaque but not quite done. Add your chilli now you can use fresh or dried just go with your own personal heat preference. Next add your beans- there’s very little liquid in the ones I get so I don’t drain them. You may or may not wish to add a little bit of water. Cover, turn the heat down and leave to cook for another five minutes with the odd stir to avoid the beans welding themselves to the pan base. While this is going on finely shred your cabbage, then when the beans are just starting to look a bit mushy round the edges throw it in the mix, stir gently but thoroughly then cover again and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the cabbage is cooked through.
Season heartily with black pepper and serve immediately.
variations: You can swap the cabbage for collard greens or savoy cabbage if you like or spinach for a much lighter version. Veggies can skip the bacon and bulk up with some chestnut mushrooms instead, it also works well with some fresh basil or coriander added at the end. With the bacon you shouldn’t need to add any salt so taste it before seasoning!