Cuisine - Fabulous fibre

By: Nicole Wilson

It turns out that most New Zealand adults are consuming less than the recommended daily intake of dietary fibre – in fact about half the recommended amount. You might be wondering why that might be a problem. Well, the big thing is that there are all sorts of health benefits associated with dietary fibre, from its effect on heart health, to Type 2 diabetes, to cancer. These associations have shown that as fibre intake increases, chronic disease risk decreases.

There are two different forms of fibre, and they both play important roles in our gut health. One is soluble fibre, which forms a gel-absorbing fluid and makes the bowel contents softer. It also helps to lower blood cholesterol and improve blood glucose control. The other form is insoluble fibre, which acts as a bulking agent to help keep us regular.

Fibre is found naturally in plant products – fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains. When increasing your fibre intake to reach the recommended amount (30g/day for men; 25g/day for women), it is a good idea to do it gradually, to minimise potential side effects such as wind and bloating.

This recipe is packed full of fabulous fibre, which comes from the cannellini beans and onion, and it’s rich and tasty to satisfy your tastebuds. It’s also packed with slow release energy to keep you fuller for longer. It’s great as a breakfast or brunch option but also perfect for a simple dinner.

Smoky Baked Beans

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 dashes of Kaitaia Fire
    (or Tabasco sauce)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely
    chopped (1 tsp dried)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ - 1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp dijon mustard
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
400g tin cannellini beans, drained
   and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Place a pan over a moderate-low heat, add the oil and onions, season with a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and a dash of Kaitaia Fire (hot sauce). Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add in the garlic, rosemary, spices and mustard. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and molasses. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the beans. Finally stir through the parsley before dishing up. Serve over crusty wholegrain bread slathered with butter or drizzled with olive oil. Top with crumbled feta, grated/shaved parmesan or a poached egg.

Nicole Wilson, Nutritionist


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