Vegan Cheesy Bean Puffs
Honestly, is there anything better than a really good, savoury pastry?
It doesn't matter whether it's the freezing dead of winter of the scorching height of summer, these cheesy bean puffs are one meal that I can always enjoy. And they taste so cheesy, you really wouldn't believe that they are vegan!
They can be enjoyed hot or cold, and can be easily transported mess-free, making them perfect for a take-away lunch, or to enjoy at a picnic. Serve them with a little fresh green salad, or if you're in the junk-food mood, with some oven-baked fries; no judgment from me! However you decide to enjoy them, this is one meal that the whole family is guaranteed to enjoy, regardless of whether they are used to eating vegan food or not (honestly, I bet they won't even notice!).
Ingredients (serves 8)
1 white onion
4 garlic cloves
2 400g tins of butter beans (or substitute - see FAQ section)
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp smoked paprika
5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
100ml soy milk (plus a little extra for 'egg-wash')
2 sheets of pre-made vegan puff pastry.
Salt & pepper
Start by soaking the cashews in a bowl of boiling water. Leave to one side to soak for at least 15 minutes.
Next, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Finely chop the onion and garlic and add these to the pan. Fry for 10 minutes, until soft.
When the onion is soft and translucent, add the tomato purée, herbs, and smoked paprika to the pan. Mix together, and heat for a further 2 minutes.
Drain the beans and add them to the pan, along with the chopped tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Whilst this is cooking, drain the cashews and add them to a food processor, along with the soy milk and lemon juice. Blitz at a high speed for several minutes, until it forms a smooth liquid, ensuring no lumps remain.
When everything is ready, pour the cashew cream into the bean mixture. Stir in the nutritional yeast, and season with salt and pepper.
Next, lay out the pastry on a clean surface and divide each sheet into 8 even rectangles (16 in total). Transfer half of the rectangles to parchment-lined baking trays, ensuring to leave a gap between them (I use two baking trays - 4 pastries per tray). Spoon the filling into the centre of the pastry slices, leaving a gap around the edge. Then, place the remaining 8 pastry rectangles on top to create the pockets, and seal the edges with a fork.
(Optional) Brush the tops of the pockets with a little extra soy milk. This will help them to brown nicely as they cook.
Place the pockets in the oven and bake at 200 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is fully cooked and nicely browned.
Remove the pockets from the oven and leave to cool slightly before eating.
Transfer the pockets to plates, serve with a little fresh salad or a side of fries, and enjoy!
Q: Which beans should I use in my parcels?
A: My go-to beans for this recipe are butter beans as I find these give the best texture, but you can use most other beans as a substitute if you don't have any butter beans available. Kidney beans, cannellini beans, or white beans all work great too! Just note that with some beans you may have to adjust the cooking time to give them a little longer to cook-through. If not, they may end up too hard and have a little too much bite, which will result in a less pleasant texture whilst eating (nobody enjoys a hard bean).
Q: Can I eat them cold?
A: One of the best things about these pastries is that they taste great hot or cold. This means that you can easily make them ahead of time and eat them on the go; perfect for a packed lunch!
Q: I don't have nutritional yeast at home. Can I use vegan cheese instead?
A: Definitely! I usually opt to use nutritional yeast over vegan cheese in my recipes wherever possible, as a) it's something you can keep in your pantry and use anytime without preparing ahead of time (unlike vegan cheese which has a shorter shelf life), and b) vegan cheeses can vary widely in taste/consistency depending on which brand you use, and can also be harder to find depending on where you live. Nutritional yeast, on the other hand, can nowadays be found in most big supermarkets or any decent health food shop. But don't worry, if you'd like to use vegan cheese instead, this will still work great in this recipe, so go ahead!