Hearty Veggie Cassoulet
This is a beautiful warming, easy, cheap, and nourishing Autumn or Winter meal. Traditionally this French dish would have been rich in meat, however this is a vegan version that lends itself perfectly to root veg – pumpkin, squashes, parsnips.
You can of course add your own meat / fish / cheese.
About this Recipe
This is a well balanced meal. The carbohydrate comes from the root veg, and the oaty topping. The fat comes from the oil, and a little from the seeds (plus parmesan if you using). The protein comes mainly from the beans, also from seeds and nutritional yeast. You can serve with some seasonal greens like baked kale, or enjoy by itself.
- 3 tbsp oil of your choice, I used rapeseed
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 10g ginger root, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 175ml red wine (optional)
- 6 tbsp fresh herbs, I used sage + rosemary
- 500g tomato passata + refill half with water
- 500g butternut squash (net weight) – I used frozen as it saves all the chopping!
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 red / yellow / orange peppers, in large chunks
- 1 cooking apple, finely chopped
- 1 umami stock cube
- optional – a whole red chilli for some kick
- 2 tins of pulses, I used black bean and borlotti
- 120g jumbo oats
- 2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan
- 2.5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp more fresh herbs
Great for batch cooking—simply freeze before adding topping what you want to save and then adjust the topping amounts to suit.
- In a large saucepan gently heat the oil and simmer the onion, roughly chopped for 5 mins.
- Add the garlic, ginger, celery, simmer for 5 mins (lid on)
- Turn up the heat, add the wine and bubble this off until reduced a little. Throw in the herbs, then the passata, and season well
- I like to whizz this now with a hand-blender to make a thick base sauce. This isn’t essential though.
- Now add the water, stock cube, butternut squash, carrots, peppers, apple Bring to up to bubbling then simmer, lid on, on a very low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Drain and rinse well the beans, then add. Check the seasoning.
- Now make the topping—either for the whole lot if serving 6+, or less if freezing some. Mix the oats, seeds, and yeast / parmesan, herbs, more seasoning, in a small bowl.
- When the veg feels lovely and soft, after approx. 2 hours, heat the oven to 180 / 160 fan. Decant into an oven-proof dish and sprinkle over the topping. Cook for about 20 mins until the topping is golden and crunchy.
About 2 hr 40 mins
Autumn / Winter
Butternut squash is an outstanding source of Vitamin A beta carotenes, research has shown this is an important food for eye health, reducing inflammation, skin health, and digestion. Also a useful source of calcium, phosphorous and potassium.
Peppers are a colourful & versatile ingredient. They contain higher levels of Vitamin C, (particularly the reds), calcium, & potassium, plus anti-oxidants which are thought to protect the eyes from age related macular degeneration.
Beans & lentils – Great for the heart, steadying blood sugar levels, satiety levels and energy, fibre. They have high levels of polyphenols in the darker beans, and count as 1 of your 5 a day. High in folate, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper & iron.
Herbs – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, glucose & cholesterol-lowering activities, as well as properties that improve the brain function & mood.
Garlic is well known to boost immunity & is antibacterial & antifungal. Much research has found it effective in treating cols and flu, it is anti-carcogenic, & thought to be beneficial for high blood pressure, stroke prevention, & treating diabetes.
Pumpkin seeds— particularly high in zinc & magnesium, & a good source of fibre & healthy fats. These seeds are thought to help reduce inflammation, improve focus & boost immunity.