Vegetable cassoulet

Look on the bright side: meat is packed with protein and other nutrients, so don’t feel too guilty, especially when you make veg and beans the centre of the dish. Leeks are stuffed with nutrients, including vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, and Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. white beans, such as cannellini beans, are full of fibre, which helps control cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy heart.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

2 leeks or onions, sliced

2 carrots, cut into lengths

3 celery stalks, in 1/2-inch pieces

2 courgettes, in 1/2-inch pieces

Salt and black pepper

2 tins chopped tomatoes

4 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1kg canned white beans

500ml chicken/veg stock

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Make it

1 Heat oil in a large pan. Cook meat until browned. Remove from pan and drain off all but two tablespoons of fat.

2 Add garlic, leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and courgettes; season. Cook for five minutes.

3 Add tomatoes and juice, meat and herbs. Bring to the boil. Add beans and boil again; reduce heat so mixture bubbles gently. Cook for 20 minutes, adding stock when mixture gets thick. Remove meat; take off bones and skin and chop into chunks. Return to pot and add cayenne. Warm through.

The Food Matters Cookbook, by Mark Bittman