Recipes from Kirsten Butler

Easy chickpea curry

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time : 15 mins


1 onion, chopped

2 tbsp oil

1/2 cup stock made with a vegetable or chicken stock cube

2 15 1/2 ounce cans chickpeas, drained

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp coriander powder or turmeric

1 tsp cumin

3 tbsp mango chutney if you have it

2 15 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes

Optional extras:

Throw in some diced cooked potatoes or frozen peas


Sautee the onion in oil until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Cover, and allow to cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.


Easy lentil curry

Serves 4

Prep time : 5 mins

Cooking time : 45 mins


2 tbsp oil

2 medium onions, cut into rough wedges

4 tbsp curry paste or powder

850ml vegetable stock

750g stewpack frozen vegetables

100g red lentils

200g rice



handful of raisins and roughly chopped parsley

poppadoms and mango chutney, to serve


Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook over a high heat for about 8 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in a little of the stock so it sizzles, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Gradually pour in the rest of the stock.

Stir the frozen vegetables, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked.

While the curry is simmering, cook the rice according to the packet instructions, adding the turmeric to the cooking water. Drain well.

Season the curry with salt, toss in a handful of raisins and chopped parsley, then serve with the rice, poppadums and chutney.


Lentil Ragu...great with any pasta

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins


3 tbsp oil

2 onions, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

500g bag dried red lentils

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato purée

2 tsp mixed herbs

3 bay leaves if you have them

1l stock made with either a chicken or vegetable stock cube

500g spaghetti, plus cheese, grated, to serve


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook gently for 15-20 mins until everything is softened. Stir in the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs and stock. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 40-50 mins until the lentils are tender and saucy – splash in water if you need. Season.

If eating straight away, keep on a low heat while you cook the spaghetti, following pack instructions. Drain well, divide between pasta bowls or plates, spoon sauce over the top and grate over some cheese. Alternatively, cool the sauce and chill for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Simply defrost portions overnight at room temperature, then reheat gently to serve.


Easy lentil soup

Serves 6


150g red lentils

6 carrots peeled and chopped

2 medium leeks cleaned and sliced

Any leftover bacon or ham if you have it

Tablespoon of tomato purée

2 veg stock cubes

3 pints boiling water

Salt & pepper to taste


If you have any bacon or ham fry it up in a pan in a splash of oil until cooked. Add the boiling water to the pan then add the stock cubes and allow to melt in water and simmer.

Add lentils and tomato purée to pan and again bring back to boil and allow lentils to soften.

While lentils boiling in pan ideal time to prepare your carrots & leeks

Add vegetables and any salt or pepper to pan (don't add salt if you use ham for soup it will make it saltier)

Bring to boil, turn heat down cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes

Serve with bread and butter


Mexican bean chili

Serves 4

Total Time: 45 mins

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins


1 tblsp veg oil

1 large carrot, chopped into small dice

1 large stick celery, chopped into small dice

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1/2-1tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tblsp tomato puree

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1 chicken or veg stock cube

100g each dried kidney beans, chickpeas and black eye beans, or a 400g can of each, drained


If using dried beans, soak and cook as recommended on the packaging prior to starting the chilli.

Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic to the oil in a large wide pan on a medium hot heat and sweat until onions are translucent, about 10 mins

Add tomato puree and stir for 30 seconds, then add the cumin, coriander and cinnamon and dried chilli. Stir fry for a minute.

Add chopped tomatoes and stock cube, bring to simmer, cover and leave on low heat for 10-20mins, stirring occasionally, until veg is cooked through.

Add all the beans, stir, bring to simmer, cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until beans are hot. Keep an eye on it, add a couple of tblsp of water if it is a bit dry.

Serve with rice, tortillas or French bread, salad and grated cheese


Sausage and butterbean casserole with herby crumb topping

Serves 4

Prep time :25 mins

Cooking time: 45 mins


8 sausages

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 x 400g/14oz tin butter beans, rinsed and drained

½ bunch parsley, rough chopped

400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes

500ml/18fl oz chicken stock, made from stock cube

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the herby crumb topping

100g/3½oz bread (ideally day old), crusts removed

½ bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp oil


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat . Once hot, add the sausages and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning now and again to colour evenly.

Add the onion and continue to cook for three minutes, then add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for two more minutes, stirring from time to time.

Meanwhile, for the herby crumb topping, tear the bread into small crumbs (or put into a food processor if you have one) and mix it with the finely chopped parsley.

Add the butter beans, parsley, tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan. Stir to mix everything together and season well with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium ovenproof baking dish.

Sprinkle the herby crumbs evenly over the surface of the stew, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes, or until the topping is crisp. Serve while hot.


Butter bean and tomato stew

Serves 5

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 35 mins


3 tbsp oil

1 clove garlic

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 large onion, sliced

6 large tomatoes, chopped and sprinkled with a little salt

400g can butter beans, drained

small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped


In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, carrots and onion. Gently sweat, stirring, until soft but not coloured. Add tomatoes and slowly cook for 15 mins. Add the beans, reduce the heat to nearly nothing and warm through. Taste, season, then stir in the parsley.


A quick version of Nigel Slaters tasty butter bean and mushroom casserole

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 35 mins


Tblspn oil

2 medium onions

2 carrots

garlic 2 cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

mushrooms 240g

2 x 400g cans of tomatoes

2 x 400g cans butter beans


Peel the onions, cut them in half, then into thick segments. Soften them in a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Scrub the carrots, roughly chop, then add to the onions with the garlic.

As the vegetables soften, slice the mushrooms and stir them into the vegetables. Once they soften and colour, tip in the tomatoes, the rinsed beans and 2 cans of water. Season with salt and black pepper then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer the beans for 30 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Set to one side and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.

Bake for about 35 minutes.

Optional cheesey crisp crumb topping:

For the crust:

rolled oats 40g

crisp white breadcrumbs 40g

grated Parmesan 4 tbsp

Mix the oats, crumbs and cheese and scatter over the casserole and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes until it is golden and crisp.


Pasta with sardines - a cheap, quick and tasty dish popular in Italy

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins


1/2 (500g) packet any type of pasta but tagliatelle or spaghetti is best

2 tablespoons oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tin sardines in tomato sauce

1 lemon, juiced

1 pinch dried crushed chillies

freshly grated cheese to serve


Cook pasta according to packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for a few minutes until soft, then add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Stir in the sardines with their sauce. When the sardines heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is almost al dente, drain, and add it to the sardine sauce. Stir, cover, and turn the heat off. Let stand for a few minutes to absorb the flavours of the sauce. Squeeze juice from the lemon over the pasta. Divide onto serving plates, and top with chillies and grated cheese.

Use freshly ground black pepper instead of the crushed chillies if you prefer less heat.


Tinned pilchard fishcakes

Total Time: 45 mins

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins


2 (445 g) cans pilchards in tomato sauce

1 and a half pounds 850 gms of mashed potatoes

4 onions, finely chopped

2 eggs, beaten



Mixed herbs


Drain the pilchards, retaining the tomato sauce.

Add to mashed potato and beaten egg, mixture must be quite stiff.

Add onion and seasoning.

Form into cakes and bake at 200 C for approximately 30 minutes, turning over half way through.

(If desired, allow to cool and freeze - can be re-heated in microwave).

Serve with reserved tomato juice, simmered with italian herbs and grated cheese.


Tuna sweetcorn burgers

Serves 4

Prep time : 10 mins

Cook time : 5 mins


85g white bread, torn into pieces

198g can sweetcorn, drained

2 x 185g cans tuna in water, drained well

25g grated cheddar

3 spring onions, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp vegetable oil

wholegrain bread rolls, lettuce, salsa or mayonnaise to serve


Whizz the bread in a food processor to crumbs or grate on a cheese grater to make breadcrumbs and tip into a bowl. Finely chop half the sweetcorn. Add the chopped corn, remaining whole corn, tuna, cheese, spring onions and some seasoning into the bowl with the bread and mix well. Add the egg, bit by bit (you may not need it all), until the mixture is sticky enough to be shaped into four even-size burgers.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, then cook the burgers for 5 mins on each side until golden and hot through the middle. Stuff into wholemeal buns with your favourite lettuce and a good dollop of salsa or mayonnaise.


Butter bean and tuna pasta salad

Serves 8

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins


175g fusilli pasta

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

2 (170g) tins tuna, drained and flaked

90g grated Cheddar cheese

2-3 sticks celery, chopped

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 (400g) tin butter beans, drained

150g mayonnaise

1/2 lemon, juiced

You can also throw in some tinned sweetcorn or chopped red peppers if you have them


Boil pasta in salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and cool.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, eggs, tuna, Cheddar cheese, celery, onion, corn, red peppers and butter beans. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture, and mix together.


Mexican tuna bean salad

Serves 4

Prep and cook time: 20 mins


500g pack new potatoes

4 tbsp oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp chilli powder

1 plump garlic clove, finely chopped

410g can kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

A couple of spring onions or 1 small red onion or half a medium one, finely chopped

200g can tuna, drained


Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, make the dressing.Whisk the oil, lemon juice, chilli powder and garlic in a bowl big enough to take all the salad. Tip in the beans and onion.

Drain the potatoes and when cool enough to handle cut them in half lengthways. Now gently stir the potatoes into the salad and flake in the tuna.


Tuna pasta sauce

Serves 4

Prep time : 15 mins

Cook time : 15 mins


4 tbsp oil

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried parsley

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

450g/1lb carton, bottle passata or tinned chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g/14oz tin of tuna fish in oil, drained and roughly chopped


375g/13oz dried pasta

freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil and gently fry two tablespoons of the parsley, the garlic and chilli for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tuna and salt.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes or until al dente, and drain. Toss with the sauce and serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Tuna pasta bake

Serves 4-6

Prep time : 30 mins

Cooking time : 25 mins


600g/1lb 5oz pasta shapes such as fusilli, penne or farfalle

50g/2oz butter

50g/2oz plain flour

600ml/20fl oz milk

200g/7oz cheddar, grated

100g/3½oz can sweetcorn, drained

100g/3½oz peas

3 spring onions, sliced

2 x 185g/6½oz cans tuna in spring water, drained


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cook the pasta in a saucepan of plenty of boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook for one minute, or until the mixture darkens slightly.

Slowly stir in the milk, stirring until smooth after each addition of milk and continue to cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in most of the cheese, and all the sweetcorn, peas and spring onion. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce.

Spoon the tuna into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Pour over the pasta and sauce. Tap the dish gently so the sauce pours into every nook and cranny. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is a golden-brown.


Even easier creamy tuna pasta bake

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins


425g cooked macaroni

100g frozen garden peas

1 (185g) tin tuna, drained

1 (295g) tin condensed cream of mushroom soup

120g grated Cheddar cheese

100g corn flakes, crushed or breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.

In a baking dish, combine the macaroni, peas, tuna and soup. Mix well, and then top with cheese.

Bake at 180 C / Gas 4 for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with crushed corn flakes or breadcrumbs and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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