A fast and flavorful one pot dinner
Sometimes it can be tricky to cook something quick and tasty on busy weeknights while still following a healthy diet. This simple cassoulet recipe comprised of chicken, vegetables, and cannellini beans drenched in a rich tomato sauce is a great option, going from the chopping board to the table in under 30 minutes. Essentially a speedy version of a casserole, it makes a hearty lunch or dinner and is sure to become a family favorite!
Protein: the building block of a healthy body and mind
Thanks to the chicken and cannellini beans, this dish is very high in protein. There are many reasons to opt for high-protein meal options:
- Protein is the building block for healthy muscles, skin, bones, and blood, and is essential for repairing tissues. Too little protein can lead to undesirable symptoms like brittle hair and nails.
- Protein tends to be more satiating and is lower in calories per pound than carbohydrates, so it’s an effective tool for weight loss.
- Protein is also great for boosting energy levels, maintaining a healthy weight, stabilizing insulin levels, and promoting the absorption of nutrients.
Lean chicken is a fantastic way to add protein to your meal. Chicken is an excellent source of B vitamins, which are good for brain and heart health. Try to choose organic chicken where you can, as this will ensure you’re not getting unwanted antibiotics or pesticides in you chicken. There are also some studies that have concluded that chickens raised organically and naturally have a higher nutrient profile than those conventionally farmed, not forgetting to mention the higher quality of life for the chicken!
Cannellini beans are a good source of protein for vegetarian diets. For a meat-free version of this dish you could easily substitute a second bean variety for the chicken. The beans are also full of fiber, which is filling and vital for a healthy digestive system.
The remaining ingredients are almost entirely vegetables, so the nutritional value is high while calories remain fairly low. Thanks to the beans it’s already a hearty meal, but diners with bigger appetites will certainly enjoy this with an extra serving of rice, cous cous, or a hunk of crusty bread to dip in the rich tomato sauce.
Versatile and family friendly
The beauty of one pot dishes is that you can often add or swap ingredients depending on what’s in the cupboard or fridge. Use extra vegetables instead of chicken, swap vegetables, or use different flavorings, such as chilli, paprika, or rosemary, instead of basil. While white wine is included in this recipe, you might like to omit this if you’re avoiding alcohol or want a more family-friendly version. Just add a little chicken stock to top up the liquid content.
One Pot Chicken with Cannellini Beans (serves 4)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 organic, free-range chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3.5 oz white wine (or swap for chicken stock if you prefer)
1 – 14oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp chopped basil
2 bay leaves
1 – 14oz. can of cannellini beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
- Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and brown for about 5 minutes.
- Add the white wine (or stock) and stir well. Once it comes to the boil, add the chopped tomatoes and stir again.
- Add the zucchini, red pepper, basil, and bay leaves to the pot.
- Cover and simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes.
- Before serving, pour in the cannellini beans and stir through just enough to heat.
- Serve in bowls with a few torn basil leaves on top.
- Spring onions or shallots can be used instead of white onion.
- For a slightly different flavor, add some bacon or chorizo – fry it with the onions.
- If you use fresh tomatoes rather than canned, you’ll need to cook a little longer to reduce them down.
- Instead of zucchini and peppers, you could try carrots, broccoli or even olives.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen. If you have less than a full portion left, bolster with broccoli or serve as a sauce rather than stand-alone dish.
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