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Mediterranean Style Butter Bean Bake

Rich in green leafy vegetables, herbs, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and beans this colourful Mediterranean style dish is quick and easy to prepare and makes a tasty lunch or supper dish.  It could be served with a mixed salad or crusty wholegrain bread.

1 x 400g can butter beans

1 red onion - peeled and chopped

 2 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped

 1 red pepper - deseeded and roughly chopped

 2 small courgettes - roughly chopped

 Approx. 200g spinach - roughly chopped

 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

 1 tbsp tomato puree

 4 tbsp olive oil

 1/2 tsp paprika

 Pinch cayenne pepper

 Handful fresh mint - chopped

 Handful fresh parsley - chopped

 Black pepper (and salt) to taste

Drain the beans.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c or Gas 4

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large pan and warm the oil.  Add the onions and pepper and soften over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. 

Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper and stir well.

Add the courgettes and spinach and gently stir well over a medium heat, adding the canned tomatoes and tomato puree.

Finally add the chopped herbs, butter beans and season to taste. Transfer into an ovenproof casserole and drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

Serve alone, with a mixed salad or crusty wholegrain bread.

Following a Mediterranean style diet has been found to have many health benefits.

Low GI improves blood sugar balance and reduces risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

High antioxidant levels stenghten Immunity, reduce risk of Stroke and CV Disease, and reduce Inflammation.

Olive oil helps improve HDL chloesterol levels.

Vegetables are a rich source of antioxidant nutrients and complex carbohydrates.

Butter beans are high in protein and a good source of fibre helping stabilise blood sugar. They also contain the essentail minerals molybdenum and manganese.

Garlic is rich in Vitamin B6, C, and the minerals mangaese and selenium.  It also contains moderate levels of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and Vitamin B1.