Bean and veg crumble with an oaty topping

Veggies take on new personalities when baked. It’s different from when you roast them; baked vegetables taste more strongly of themselves, without the smidge of smoky bitterness that comes with roasting.

Baked vegetables are mellow and work together for an overall effect, like a glee choir; while roasted veg is a girl band with individual flavours vying for the solo.

Okay, so forgive the rubbish metaphors, and take in this wholly delicious, good-for-you bean and veg crumble.

I used the vegetables hanging around in my kitchen, so feel free to grab whatever you think will work (probably not cabbage or brocolli; brassicas tend to change the nature of a stew like this). The oats in the topping were genius! Way better than a floury crumble (there was much self-congratulating at supper time tonight). I added some fat (in the form of olive oil and grated cheese) to make the topping crunchy.

Bean and veg crumble with an oaty topping

1 yellow pepper
Half a red pepper
1 onion
1 leek
2 celery sticks
2 medium potatoes
A third of a butternut squash
4 garlic cloves, leave skins on
1 tin black eyed beans
1 tin chopped plum tomatoes2-3 good handfuls of oats
2-3 handfuls of grated extra mature cheddar
Olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Peel any vegetables that need it and dice everything into large bitesize pieces. Pre-heat the oven to about 190 degrees C or 370 deg F. Or gas mark 5.

2. Tip the vegetables into a large baking dish (mine is 30 cm x 30 cm/12″ x 12″), add the garlic cloves (still in their skins) salt and pepper liberally, and toss them in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

3. Cover with foil and place in the oven for about 40 mins – 1 hour. Depends how small you cut the vegetables. My inch-square dice were quite large, to give the pie some texture.

4. When the vegetables are soft and cooked, remove from the oven. Slip the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash them with a fork.

5. Pour the tin of tomatoes into the vegetables and add either a bit more water or another half tin, depending on what you think. It’s better wet, with lots of ‘gravy’. Add the drained beans.

6. Salt everything liberally and mix all the ingredients evenly and spread out. Include the mashed garlic cloves in the party.

7. Grate the cheese – you might need more if you use a less strong cheese – and mix the gratings with the handfuls of oats. You need enough topping to thickly coat the whole surface area of the stew.

8. Using a dessertspoon, sprinkle the oats and cheese evenly across the crumble, nice and thick.

9. Drizzle olive oil over the topping, lots of serpentines across the surface.

10. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, till the topping is crunchy and starting to brown.

veggie crumble