Keep some in the cupboard and you’ll be able to whip up any number of filling dishes and dips
1. Cheesy tortilla bake
Cut a butternut squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then sprinkle with Cajun spice mix. Roast until tender, then scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash with a drained tin of red kidney beans, chopped fresh coriander and a dash of sweet chilli sauce. Spread a wholemeal tortilla with reduced-fat garlic and herb soft cheese, then the squash mixture. Top with another tortilla and sprinkle with reduced-fat mature cheddar, then bake until crisp. Cut into wedges to serve.
2. Pasta sauce
Fry chopped onion and garlic in a little olive oil, then add tinned chopped tomatoes, a drained tin of red kidney beans and a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes to taste. Heat through, whiz in a blender, then toss with freshly cooked pasta.
3. Chunky dip
Lightly crush a drained tin of red kidney beans, then mix with chopped tomatoes, chopped spring onions, grated fresh ginger, lime zest and juice, and ground black pepper to taste. Set aside for 10 min to allow the beans to soak up the flavours, then serve with pittas.
4. Main-course soup
Turn a bowl of vegetable soup into a hearty meal by stirring through drained tinned red kidney beans and chopped fresh parsley.
5. Rice and peas
The ‘peas’ in this Jamaican dish are actually red kidney beans. Cook long-grain rice in half reduced-fat coconut milk and half water, using twice the volume of liquid to rice. When cooked, stir through crushed garlic, chopped spring onions, fresh thyme leaves and drained tinned kidney beans – fantastic served with spicy chicken skewers.
6. Veggie burgers
Mash a drained tin of red kidney beans with 1 grated carrot, 1tbsp paprika, ½tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander, ¼tsp cayenne pepper and 1 crushed garlic clove. Add 1 egg yolk and enough fresh breadcrumbs to bind the mixture, then shape into 4 burgers. Fry in a lightly oiled pan until golden.
7. Cottage pie twist
Fry turkey mince with chopped onion in a little spray oil. Add tomato purée, reduced-salt soy sauce, white wine vinegar, mango chutney, tinned tomatoes and drained tinned red kidney beans and heat through. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, then top with sweet potato mash and bake in the oven until golden.
8. Quick masala
Heat a tin of chopped tomatoes with 2tbsp medium curry paste, a drained tin of red kidney beans and a pack of ready-to-heat lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes, then serve with cooked basmati rice.
9. Roasted pepper and goat’s cheese salad
Roast red peppers until tender, then peel and slice. Mix with drained tinned red kidney beans and chopped fresh flatleaf parsley. Serve dotted with soft goat’s cheese and drizzled with balsamic dressing.
10. Lemony tuna salad
In a salad bowl, mix together drained tinned kidney beans, sweetcorn and tuna, all in water. Stir some lemon zest and chopped fresh coriander into reduced-fat French dressing, then toss with the bean mixture. Serve with salad leaves and couscous.
What’s so great about kidney beans?
HFG expert and nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam says: ‘Kidney beans are rich in protein, making them a particularly good choice for vegans and vegetarians, while an 80g cooked portion counts as one of our five-a-day. They’re high in fibre, too, and they provide potassium, phosphorus, iron and thiamin. Tinned kidney beans can be used straightaway, but if you’re using dried beans it’s important to soak and boil them before eating to destroy the harmful toxins.’