Hearty Italian Bean Casserole

The clock’s have gone back, the evenings are drawing in, and the air is fresh and crisp. I love the beauty of the Autumn season; the changing colours of nature’s palate and crunching my way through piles of golden horse chestnut leaves. The cold and extra layers of clothing… I love less so; but I’m working on it. What makes the foray into the cold that much sweeter however, is the return home to a hearty, warming dinner.

In today’s post, I’m sharing a recipe for an Italian bean casserole that’s just perfect for the cold weather seasons. It’s hearty, warming and filling. It’s also packed with lots of immune-boosting nutrients to keep those pesky cold germs at bay.

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Jacket Sweet Potato with Dhal and Pomegranate

Hi everyone! I hope you’re managing to stay warm! Here in Bath, it’s snowing pretty heavily, which is a rare occurrence round these parts. The last big snowfall was in 2013, which I recorded here on the blog, along with a recipe that’s just perfect for this kind of weather… Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings. I can’t believe that was five years ago already!

Well today, I have another comfort food recipe for you… Jacket Sweet Potato with Dhal and Pomegranate. It’s such a beautiful dish, packed full of flavours and colours, as well as lots of immune-boosting nutrients.

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Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings – Comfort Food for a Snowy Weekend!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend!

It’s been snowing here in Bath. Yay!

Snowy Bathampton Meadows 500

Snow is something of a novelty here. Last year it only snowed for one afternoon!

Lil’ L was so excited when he awoke on Friday and saw the snow. Not only did it mean that he got a bonus day off school, but it also meant that he would finally get to use the sledge that his grandparents had bought him two years ago!

He quickly gulped down his breakfast, threw on some warm clothes, and was out the door!

Lil L Snowy Bath January 2013 1

With all this freshly fallen snow, the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful!

Snowy Tree in Snowy Bath January 2013

As lunch time, M came for a spot of sledging. The boys had a huge amount of fun!

Lil L sledging in Snowy Bath January 2013

They were moving so fast that I only just managed to catch a shot of them. Can you spot them? They’re behind the tree!

Lil L sledging in Snowy Bath January 2013 3

I’m a big scaredy cat when it comes to things like this, so I’m very happy to watch from the sidelines.

Lil L Snowy Bath January 2013 2

As well as sledging, we’ve had some beautiful walks this weekend, including one along the Kennet & Avon Canal into Bath City Centre.

Snowy walk along the K&A Canal - January 2013

Upon arrival, Lil’ L suggested we warm up with a veggie pasty from our favourite pasty shop  (Pasty Presto) by Bath Abbey 🙂

Lil L at Pasty Presto Bath

Back home, we’ve been warming up with lots of hot chocolate. Our current favourite blend is the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate. It’s totally lush! (check out my review here). To make it into a filling, nutritious snack, I’ve been throwing a bunch of ingredients in the blender (1 cup Alpro Almond Milk, 1 tbsp raw hot chocolate powder, 1 tbsp chia seeds & 1 tbsp ground almonds per person) and blending it on high speed before gently heating it through. It’s delicious, thick, creamy and leaves you feeling totally full up 🙂

Lil L drinking hot choc

I’ve also been making lots of comfort food. For the second Sunday in a row, I’ve made a Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings.  We absolutely love this dish and it’s perfect for this time of year.

Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings

N.B. Recipe updated 1/3/18 to match the recipe in the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook.


Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings
In my book, this is comfort food at its best! I’ve ‘healthified’ the dumplings as much as possible by adding in some wholegrain flour and olive oil instead of suet, but I think they taste as nice, if not nicer, than regular dumplings. 

Serves: 4
Hands on time: 30 minutes   Ready in: 60 minutes


1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 large sweet potato (400g), peeled and chopped into small bite-size pieces
2 medium carrots (150g), sliced into thin disks
200g / 2½ cups chestnut (or crimini) mushrooms, diced
1 tsp each dried rosemary, sage, thyme
1 tsp sweet paprika
480ml / 2 cups vegetable stock (broth)
2 TBSP tomato purée (paste)
180g / 1 heaping cup cooked (ready to eat) chestnuts (I used 1 packet of Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts)
3 TBSP mixed seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, shelled hemp seeds)
1 TBSP cornflour (cornstarch)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

90g / ⅔ cup fine wholemeal (whole wheat pastry) flour or chapatti flour
90g / ⅔ cup plain (all purpose) flour
1 TBSP baking powder
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp mustard powder
½ tsp salt
40ml / 3 TBSP olive oil
80ml / ⅓ cup soya milk


1  Gently heat the oil in a large casserole or heavy-bottomed pan. Add the vegetables, dried herbs and paprika. Cover with a lid and leave to sweat for five minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock and tomato purée. (To begin with, it may look like you have too many vegetables, but they will reduce down). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2  Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings: Place the flours, baking powder, herbs, mustard powder and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the oil and milk and stir with a fork until it starts to come together. Finish bringing the dough together by hand. It should be a soft, slightly sticky dough, so add a touch more liquid or flour if needed to attain the right consistency. Divide the mixture into 12-16 equal pieces and roll into balls.

3  Slice the chestnuts in half and add them to the casserole, along with the seeds. Mix the cornflour with 1 TBSP water until smooth, then stir it into the casserole. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the dumplings on top, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

4  Ladle into warm bowls and serve. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for three days.


For a Gluten Free version, you could serve the casserole with a root veg mash or add an oaty crumble topping.

Have a great week everyone! Stay warm!



Is it snowing where you are?
What are your favourite Winter warming comfort foods?