Mixed bean goulash, 29p (VEGAN)

Autumn is rolling back around, and with it, my love of all things hot and spicy and bean-stew-y. This 
recipe is one of my most popular, often cropping up on Instagram and Twitter in the delightful way 
that my readers love to share their dinner with me. Keep them coming folks, I genuinely love receiving photos of my recipes made by your fair hands! 

I originally adapted this from a beef goulash recipe in the Abel and Cole cookbook, but tweaked it and tampered with it in the way that all recipes are. Beans are cheaper than beef, financially and environmentally, and this dish is simply fine without it. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are usually  a third of the price of a tin of the plain ones! Eat warm on toast, with rice or stuffed in a pitta bread with lashings of crunchy lettuce for lunch. Eat from a bowl, water it down with a little more stock or tomato and enjoy as a soup, or nosh it straight from the pan in the name of ‘testing’. For a slightly Mexican twist, have it with tortillas, some grated cheese, sliced red onion and iceberg lettuce, with lime to squeeze all over.
Serves 4 at 29p each. Prices based on Sainsburys, Basics where available. Other supermarkets offer 
similar products at similar prices.
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, 35p (35p/400g, Basics)
1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 25p (25p/400g)
1 onion, 9p (80p/1.5kg, Basics)
1 fat clove of garlic or a generous shake of the dried stuff, 2p (35p/2 bulbs, Basics)
2 tablespoons cooking oil, 3p (£3/3l, Sainsburys own)
2 teaspoons paprika, 4p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand)
1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, 30p (30p/400g, Basics)
1 teaspoon (4g) Marmite, 4p (£2.50/250g)
1 vegetable stock cube, 3p (30p/10 stock cubes, Basics)
1 teaspoon sugar, >1p (80p/1kg, Fairtrade granulated white sugar) 
First, drain and rinse the beans. Empty the kidney beans and the baked beans into a colander, and 
blast under cold water to get rid of the tinned taste, and the cheap sauce from the baked beans.

When well rinsed, set to one side. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and finely slice the garlic. Place 
in a sauté or large frying pan with the oil and paprika, and fry on a low heat until the onion 
is softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, Marmite or Vegemite, crumbled stock cube, sugar and half 
a tin of water, and stir well. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until thickened and glossy. 

Tip in the colander of rinsed beans, stir to mix well and heat through for 10 minutes. Serve, devour, have 
seconds and enjoy. This stew also freezes beautifully, if allowed to cool and stored in an airtight container.

This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, available here. Photography by Susan Bell.
Jack Monroe.

   My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.

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  1. So good to see recipes appearing in my emails again. I hope this means you are feeling better more often. I will be making this tonight, keep them coming!

  2. deffo making this though i’m not a fan of marmite so wouldn’t have any at home, is it a necessary component of the stew or can you use an alternative?

    • Jumping in here as my partner is also very anti-marmite: we use ‘Maggi Liquid Seasoning’ as an alternative, which is also vegan and is available in any of the ‘big four’ supermarkets for around £1.25 for a 100ml/125g bottle. It’s not exactly the same, but also adds a savoury/umami flavour without the marmite tang. Unfortunately I can’t provide any info on how much to use for this recipe, as we’re very much add-until-it-tastes-right cooks… but we throw it in all kinds of soups, stews, chili etc. so it certainly sees a lot of use!
      Just a note for anyone who chooses not to buy certain brands – Maggi is owned by Nestle (only mentioning this as I’ve been shouted down in other forums for ever daring to recommend any of their products…)

      • actually went out and bought a small jr of the dreaded black stuff aka marmite, not touched the stuff since an incident with a jar and about ten pints of lager, but they do say tastes change and i am back loving the stuff used some in a bolognese i made (no i’m not vegan but i do love vegan/vegetarian food as well) and it worked really well , thanks for the reply must look out the maggi stuff as well 😀

  3. Got a load of black beans when they were on offer in Lidl ages ago. I’m going to use these instead of baked beans. Love the recipe!
    Tonight we’re having fish cakes made from mashed potatoes, spring onions and a tin of sardines in tomato sauce. It’s the only way I can get the rest of my family to eat tinned sardines!

  4. Thanks Jack – spotted your post just as I was thinking, what to cook tonight? I was after something of a chilli-type as I had avos to use up and fancied guacamole. So I made this – lovely and rich (I added mushrooms that needed using). Just what was wanted for chilly Glasgow night.

  5. Hi Jack, I’m commenting on here as I can’t spot a way to make a “general” comment. I saw the article about eating well on a budget as a student that you contributed to, and I just wanted to say that your suggestion was fab, and was the only suggestion that was actually practical, useful and helpful! In fact, it’s a suggestion I’m going to try myself 🙂 For those of you who haven’t read the article: Jack suggested taking a sheet of paper and dividing it into four sections: “Carbs”, “Proteins”, “Fruit/Veg”, “Everything Else”, writing down everything you have in stock in the correct section and seeing which things you can combine together to make a complete meal (and also spot which areas you need to stock up a little bit).

  6. I’ve got a tin of Mixed Beans that has been glaring at me every time I open the cupboard door. Now I know what I’ll use them for. Thanks for the recipe. It’s lovely to see you posting again. Xx

    • same here Sue have a tin of mixed beans in the cupboard which i didn’t know what to do now i do 😀

  7. Made this the other week and it was absolutely fabulous, myself and 2 hungry girls wolfed it down, I will deffo be making this regularly.

  8. My husband bought a bunch of tinned beans to make cheap lunches for himself, just to discover that they do NOT taste nice when cold LOL.(it’s not a swiss staple let’s say that, we are ignorant about tinned beans or marmite for that matter).
    I’ll use them up with this recipe, using black miso instead of marmite (the jar is so big I’ve been working on it for ages)

  9. Thankyou Jack this (and many, many more of your recipes ) are just beautiful . My little girl and I have pretty much been living on the breadline since my ex left in the Summer . I am unable to claim housing benefit due to having a mortgage and we have been living on less than £600 a month . I stumbled across your blog whilst searching for frugal recipes . I love food and your recipes have never disappointed me . I am starting back at work in January and things will be looking up for us but i will still be eating food like this , thankyou so much you have really helped me through a dark time X

  10. This is a favourite recipe of mine and a really good mid week pleaser. I have made this umpteen times (always with tortilla wraps) so much so that now the cook book is splattered with tomato sauce. If you like this recipe, you will love the carrot and lentil Bolognese….even my carnavore hubby loves it!

  11. Substituted chickpeas for mixed beans (found them later 🙄) and chili powder for paprika (didn’t have any) and the result was delish. Have learnt from Jack not to panic if I don’t have the exact ingredients. If I hadn’t kept tasting I’d have had 4 portions but 3’s ok by me.

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