Cheesy bean crunch

A children’s favourite – colourful and packed with protein.

Serves: 4 adults Time: 1 hour


  • 1tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 rashers bacon, chopped into little pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 4 or 5 big tomatoes, chopped (or a tin of tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
  • 150ml (¼ pint) boiling water
  • 1 large tin of beans, e.g. red kidney beans
  • ½tsp chilli powder
  • 3 slices bread, crumbled
  • 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, bacon and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 2–3 minutes until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the tomatoes and a little boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the rest of the water.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the tomato mixture along with the chilli powder to season. Heat until boiling, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  4. Preheat the grill to a moderate temperature.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and spoon over the bean mixture. Grill until the topping is golden brown.

Cook’s tips

  • Why not try adding a handful of frozen sweetcorn at stage 4?
  • Serve with jacket potatoes or bread and salad.
  • Use full-fat cheese if you are cooking for under-twos.
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