Updated: Aug 3, 2018
This is one of my favourite 'old reliables' for mid-week or even when having friends over. It freezes well, so that's an added bonus. You can prepare it in advance and freeze the whole dish (before baking it in the oven), or just split it in two and freeze half before baking it to save yourself some effort on a later occasion.
If you are going dairy free, you can substitute the grated cheddar with grated hard goat's cheese. If you are cooking vegan, use soya milk instead of dairy milk; omit the cheese; and add a teaspoon of dijon mustard instead of the cheese.
1 red onion, finely chopped
tablespoon sunflower oil
0.25 pint (60ml) vegetable stock (ensure stock is vegan friendly - see Tips)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 large packet (500g) of fresh spinach (you can use frozen spinach in this recipe as well)
1 tablespoon of cornflour
0.5 pint (120ml) of milk or soya milk if cooking vegan
300g grated cheese (omit the cheese if cooking vegan, and substitute with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard)
2 x 400g tins of butter beans
6 handfuls of bread crumbs, ideally granary or wholemeal.
Set the oven to 200C/180C Fan or Gas Mark 4.
Heat the oil in a sauteuse or wide bottomed pan (which has a lid), add the onion and gently fry until the onion is cooked through and soft. Take care not to let the onion go brown.
Mix together the vegetable stock, lemon juice and soya sauce. Add to the pan. Add the spinach leaves, bring the mixture to the boil, put the lid on, and reduce the heat to simmer.
Meanwhile blend the cornflour and the milk, making sure to avoid making any lumps.
When the spinach leaves have cooked and reduced down, add the milk mixture. Add the butter beans and the grated cheese if using. This is when you should add the mustard if you are using it instead of cheese. Keep heating it through, and stirring to make sure the mixture doesn't stick to the base of the pan.
When the mixture has melted together and thickened slightly, pour it into an oven dish, top with bread crumbs, and put it in to the oven for about 30 minutes, taking care not to burn the top.