I first came across butter bean mash as an alternative bangers and mash combo. Mashed by hand it has a slightly chewy texture when compared to potato (which I quite like) but a quick whizz in a food processor creates a wonderfully smooth, creamy mash. The pairing here with spicy vegetables elevates it to a whole new level.
When I was experimenting with this dish I tried a version which used strips of aubergine rather than mushroom. That worked well too - so if fungi aren’t your thing feel free to switch with a medium aubergine. I’m sticking with the mushrooms because this blog already has a heavy bias towards aubergine. Mushrooms also make for an easier alternative if you are looking for food for one. (You could use the remaining butter beans for this recipe).
This recipe serves two so scale up or down as needed. As I’m writing this during the COVID-19 lockdown I’ll give you some ideas on substitutions or omissions in the method.
Lightly fry the onion in a frying pan for 5 minutes until translucent and starting to caramelise. Red onion has a lovely sweetness which works well with the earthiness of the mash and the savoury mushrooms but any onion, leek or shallots could work here. If you can’t get your hands on any of these you could just add additional mushrooms.
Once the onion is softened, add the mushrooms and garlic and continue to fry until the mushrooms are soft and starting to brown. I used chestnut mushrooms but any mushroom variety will work here.
Place the coriander, cumin and salt in a mortar and crush with the pestle. Having experimented with the grind. I tend to go for quite a fine grind but a coarse grind will still add plenty of flavour. If you only have ground spices then !/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground coriander is fine.
Add the coriander and cumin to the pan and stir for two minutes to fully coat the vegetables.
Drain and rinse the butter beans and place in a pan of boiling water. Heat until the water is bubbling and the beans warmed through. If you can’t get butter beans then you could try this recipe with regular mashed potato. Otherwise cannellini beans could be an alternative option and would provide protein to help balance the dish.
Add the harissa, tomato puree and 3 tbsp olive oil to the mushrooms. Stir the mix well, turn the heat down low and cover the frying pan with a lid if you have one. If you don’t have any tomato puree then a finely chopped tomato could be substituted here. You could try to substitute the harissa for chipotle paste or just add some chopped chillis to the mix. I’ve gone for warming rather than hot so adjust to your taste.
Once the beans are heated through and the mushroom mix is simmering in the harissa oil, take the beans off the heat and drain. If you don’t have a food processor then you are going to hand mash at this point but if you do have a food processor this recipe works well with a creamy mash. Put the warm butter beans in the food processor with the lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning to taste. Whizz for about 30 seconds to create a smooth bean puree.
Divide the beans between two pasta bowls then top with the mushroom mix.
The above makes for a tasty meat free lunch or supper dish. As suggested earlier you could keep it vegan and switch mushrooms for aubergine.
For meat eaters this would also work with strips of beef. Follow the recipe above with the mushrooms but pre-cook your beef and add with the harissa.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.