January is definitely the month of tight budgets, both money-wise and diet-wise, and I can’t say that I’m the exception. While it’s nice to imagine that while traveling between New York, London and Edinburgh over the holidays, I ate well, didn’t spend much money and therefore don’t need a quiet January, that’s just not true. (Then again, my January hasn’t been as healthy and frugal as I’d have liked either.)
This meal, however, is something no one has to feel guilty about. I first grabbed this recipe from The Kitchn, and went back to it for a great January meal. (By the way … how is it nearly February? When did that happen?)
For what it is, this panade is way tastier than I expected. It has deep, rich flavors and is super-hearty. One portion is a lot more filling than it looks!
I had some whole wheat bread loaf butts hanging around in my freezer waiting for such an occasion, and it worked perfectly. Worth noting: I tried freezing and reheating, and while it needed a little bit of water before going in the microwave, it worked out really, really well. Also, if you want to make this vegan, you can leave out the cheese without losing too much. Just be willing to adjust your herbs and spices to compensate.
Hopefully your 2013 resolutions have gone well so far! And if it involves using up bread butts, now’s your chance.
Adapted from: The Kitchn
Serves: 4 (at least!)
On the Counter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz.(400g) cans of tomatoes, whole or diced, undrained
1 cup (240 mL) hot vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 thick slices old whole wheat bread
1 16 oz. (400 g) can of white beans, such as cannellini or navy, drained and rinsed
2 cups (50 g) fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup (40 g) grated cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnishing
salt and pepper
What to Do
In a thick-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add in garlic and saute for another minute.
Add in canned tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush them with a wooden spoon. Follow it up with the broth, one tablespoon of sugar, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon is a good place to start).
Stir and increase the heat until it boils, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf. Add in bread and beans, and stir. Make sure the bread is well covered.
Simmer for at least 5 minutes, or until the bread has become soft and mushy. Break it up with a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat. Add in spinach, and let it sit until just wilted, about 1 minute.
Stir in the cheddar. Add more salt and black pepper to taste. If it tastes bitter, add
the remaining sugar and stir.
Serve in bowls, topped with a bit of freshly grated cheddar.
I love this dish! It’s so easy and filling, and it really feels hearty and comforting. Plus, there’s pretty much no guilt in this dish. With only two slices of bread in the whole thing, it’s definitely not a calorie deal-breaker.