Black Bean and Peanut Stew, 26p [VG/V/DF/GF]

 The original version of this dish contained chicken, so I have substituted it with black beans here. It makes for a more filling meal, and a cheaper one, too, as beans and pulses are generally far cheaper than meat and pulses. Dried beans work out even cheaper, but they require a degree of organisation to remember to soak them the evening before, or even to know what you will be eating in advance. I have never managed to be quite so organised, so it would be disingenuous of me to urge you all to do so, but if you are a meal-planning person, bear in mind that dried pulses are a lot cheaper than the convenience of popping open a tin of pre-cooked ones. If you find black beans difficult to get hold of or not to your taste, you can use kidney beans, green lentils, or really, any bean will do. The cooking time given here is a minimum, not an absolute, as with any pulse-based stew, it will simply improve the longer it is cooked for. This recipe is also ideal for a slow cooker, if you have one.


Serves 2-4 from 26p each


1 onion (approx. 100g), 6p (90p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics)

1 x 400g can or carton of black beans, 55p (55p/400g, Sainsburys)

1 tbsp cooking oil, 1p (£3/3l, vegetable or sunflower oil, Sainsburys)

1 tsp paprika, 1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand – usually in the World Foods aisle)

125ml water

50ml coconut milk, or any kind of milk, 12p (£1/400ml, KTC brand)

2 tbsp peanut butter, 8p (90p/340g, Sainsburys Basics)

2 tbsp tomato puree or ketchup, 3p (45p/460g, Sainsburys Basics)

A pinch of salt and pepper

100g green beans, 13p (£1.30/kg, Sainsburys frozen)

50g kale or spinach, 7p (£1.50/kg, Sainsburys frozen)


First peel and slice your onion, and toss it into a large saucepan or shallow frying pan. Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans and add those too. Pour in the cooking oil, and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes to take the raw edge off the onions, then add the paprika and mixed herbs (if using) and give it all a good stir.


Measure the water and coconut milk and pour them in, followed by the peanut butter and tomato puree. Mix it up and crank up the heat to full to bring it briefly to the boil – then reduce back down to a medium simmer again. Cook, stirring intermittently, for around 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is a glossy reddish-brown colour.

Add the green beans and greens and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon, and serve. I like to throw chilli flakes all over mine at the end, but they certainly aren’t compulsory, especially if feeding little mouths. I serve mine with a pile of plain white fluffy rice, and some extra greens, for good measure.


Jack Monroe.

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