x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Healthy tomato and butter bean stew

Cooking for one from scratch can seem a little too much trouble after a long day, but this recipe is simple and quick to make and healthy to boot.

Delia Smith might have us believe otherwise (in 1986 she released a book called One is Fun) but cooking a healthy meal for one person can be a real challenge. For many of us, cooking is about generosity of spirit, feeding and nurturing others and also receiving a little praise for doing so.

This means that when you're home alone, hungry and exhausted after a long day, cooking from scratch can seem a bridge too far. At this point, it's all too easy to pick up the phone and order a takeaway, slip a ready meal in the oven or even reach for the cereal packet.

While I'm not suggesting that the next time you find yourself dining solo you whip up a cordon bleu feast, it is worth taking the time to put together a proper, home-cooked meal - you'll feel far healthier and more satisfied at the end of it. Not only that, this is the perfect opportunity to be selfish; you can cook exactly what you fancy, without having to consider anyone else. So load on the anchovies, leave out the mushrooms or go wild with the sweet chilli sauce - this meal is all about you.

The recipe below is healthy, economical and tasty, and is constructed out of ingredients that you may well already have in your store cupboard or fridge. View it as a template: you could easily add more vegetables or replace the butter beans with chickpeas or lentils (although these will take longer to cook).

Tomato and butter bean stew

1 tbsp olive oil an onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed tsp chilli powder or paprika 2 roasted red peppers (from a jar), roughly chopped 200g tin tomatoes 400g tin butter beans, drained handful parsley or coriander leaves natural yoghurt (optional) salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently until softened (four to six minutes). Stir in the paprika or chilli powder and after a couple of minutes add the peppers, tomatoes and butter beans. Season with salt and black pepper and leave to bubble away for three to four minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in the parsley or coriander, ladle into a soup bowl and serve with a spoonful of natural yoghurt if you wish.