Here's a new version of beans on toast, combining creamy butter beans with crisp bacon, cottage cheese and mustard. Accompanied by a fresh salad, this makes a fabulous meal that is ready to serve in about 15 minutes.
15 g reduced-salt margarine
4 rashers shortcut rindless bacon, trimmed of visible fat and chopped
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
80 g rocket or watercress, tough stalks removed, roughly chopped
2 cans (400 g each) butter beans, drained and rinsed
50 g reduced-fat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pepper to taste
8 thick slices wholemeal bread
RED LEAF SALAD
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon clear honey
pepper to taste
1 small head red-leaved radicchio, cut into thin wedges
1 small red oak or red coral lettuce, leaves separated
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To make the salad, put the oil, lemon juice and honey in a salad bowl and add pepper. Whisk together. Add the radicchio and lettuce to the bowl and set aside (do not toss yet).
Preheat the grill to high. Melt the margarine in a large nonstick frying pan until it begins to sizzle. Add the bacon and spring onions, and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the bacon begins to colour and the spring onions are just tender.
Add the rocket or watercress and cook for a few seconds, stirring, then add the butter beans, cottage cheese, mustard and pepper. Lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot.
While the bean and bacon mixture is cooking, toast the slices of bread under the grill or in a toaster. Spoon the bean and bacon mixture onto the hot toast. Quickly toss the salad, and serve while the lettuce is still crisp.
For borlotti bean and blue cheese Italian rolls, place 2 cans borlotti beans, 400 g each, drained and rinsed, in a saucepan with 80 g crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, 2 tablespoons natural low-fat yogurt and 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (or 2 extra tablespoons yogurt). Heat very gently, stirring frequently, until the cheese melts and the beans are hot. Stir in 1 tablespoon sundried tomato pesto and serve on crusty Italian rolls, split in half and lightly toasted. You can accompany the toasted rolls with an Italian-style fennel and rocket salad. For the dressing, whisk 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice and pepper to taste. Add 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb, 80 g rocket leaves, 1 thinly sliced small red onion and 30 g stoned black olives, and toss just before serving with the Italian rolls.
*As their name suggests, butter beans have a buttery flavour. They offer plenty of dietary fibre, essential for a healthy digestive system. *Trimmed of fat, lean bacon is a high-protein, low-fat ingredient that provides particularly useful amounts of thiamine which is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system.