Penny's Kitchen: Chickpea & Butter Bean Stew with Cauliflower 'Cous-Cous'

As many of you know, I have a dear friend Penny who lives in Cyprus and is a wonderful cook. We spent a week together recently, having a 'healthy cook-off'- sharing recipes and inspiring each other with new flavours and ideas.

This stew was one of the first dishes Penny made for me. Little did she know this would be such a winner for us WeightWatchers as it works out to 7sp/5pp/approx.250kcal for a huge portion and is also

1sp per portion on NoCount

Filling&Healthy/SimpleStart friendly

This tasty dish is a real winner. It's aromatic and delicious, extremely simple to make, and went down very well with my family when I returned home.

This will be one of my staples from now on.


YOU WILL NEED:(Serves 4 large portions)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

3 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

sprinkle of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 litre chicken/vegetable stock made with 2 stock cubes

(Penny uses Oxo cubes, I use the low salt variety)

5 large tomatoes

two 400g tins (235g drained) butter beans

1 400g tin (240g drained) chick peas 


For the 'cous-cous'

1 medium cauliflower


Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic. Fry gently for a few minutes until the onion is starting to go golden.

Add the cumin, cayenne pepper & dried chilli flakes.

Fry the spices with the onion for a couple of minutes just to help develop the flavours.

Add half the stock and the tomatoes which should be roughly chopped, quite chunky.

Add the bay leaves. These are a magical herb. Not only do they give the authentic, tasty Mediterranean flavour, they also help to thicken the sauce somehow.

Simmer for a few minutes.

Add the chickpeas and butter beans.

Give everything a good stir.

Add the rest of the stock. Cover the pan and allow the stew to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

The sauce should be quite thin and soup-like, perfect for the cauliflower 'cous-cous' to absorb.

While the stew is simmering, simply pulse-chop the raw cauliflower in a food processor into chunky breadcrumb-like pieces.(Simply grate if you don't have a machine). Pop into a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Heat through for 2-3 minutes then drain thoroughly in a seive. The cauliflower should still have a 'bite' to it.

To serve, put a generous amount of cauliflower 'cous-cous' at the base of each serving bowl.Remove the bay leaves then heap the stew on top with plenty of the runny stock.

Sprinkle the top with a little remaining cauliflower for a pretty finish.





This stew keeps beautifully in the fridge for a few days. It tastes even better the day after you've made it- it's even yummy cold!


If you are reheating leftover stew and you find the stock has been absorbed, simply add a little more to the pan to 'loosen' the stew again.


You could add quite a bit more stock and make it into more of a hearty soup for the Winter.


For a really filling meal, you could griddle some sausages (vegetarian or meat) and either serve as an accompaniment or add into the stew for a really hearty dish.

(Remember to add the extra propoints/calories if you do this)