Fish cakes (made with canned fish)

fish cakes on spinach with a toasted English muffin & sliced tomato
my kids like to eat them in sandwich form (here with kale)

This is one of our favourite ways to get the recommended weekly serving of oily fish. It a very flexible recipe that can be adapted according to your tastes or what you have on hand. This recipe was adapted from Easy Tuna Cakes at Eating Well.


Fish cakes

  • 1 c cooked white beans (canned is fine)
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 t spicy, seedy mustard (Dijon is fine, or use any mustard you have)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • some fresh or dried herbs (chives are my family’s favourite, but we’ve made this with basil, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, dill, etc.)
  • 2 cans of fish, broken into bite-sized pieces if very large (sardines, mackerel, tuna all work well; we usually use sardines because they have the most omega-3 for the least cost and environmental impact)
  • 1/4-1/2 c whole wheat breadcrumbs (cornmeal works fine if you don’t have breadcrumbs handy and want a bit of breadiness)
  • some minced or grated onion, any kind (optional)
  • about 30-50g grated cheese (optional)


  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 t spicy, seedy mustard (Dijon is fine, or use any mustard you have)
  • 1-2 T olive oil (we like our dressing less oily, so we are aiming for a bit less than the lemon juice)
  • salt and pepper
  • minced herbs from the same herbs you used in the cakes (optional)


  • 1 T olive oil


  • toasted whole wheat English muffins
  • sliced tomatoes
  • some sturdy salad greens (spinach, kale, etc.)


Fish cakes

  • Mash beans a little with a fork or potato masher (fun for kids to do), then mix all ingredients together.


  • Put ingredients in a jar with a secure lid, shake well. (This is a great job for a kid who wants to help and is old enough not to drop the jar on the floor.)


  • Scoop out about 1/4 c of batter for each fish cake (we use a large cookie scoop for this and all other fritters.)
  • Place scoopfuls in a lightly-oiled skillet (or several) over medium heat. It takes several if you want to cook them all at once, but if you’re happy to cook in batches, you only need one. We usually get 13-16 cakes.
  • Press down lightly to flatten.
  • Flip when lightly browned on bottom and cook on the other side.


  • Serve fish cakes on greens, spoon some dressing over.
  • My kids like to assemble this into a fish burger on an English muffin with the tomato slices.


~13-16 fish cakes, which is usually enough for 4-5 people


Made with 3 eggs, 50g cheese and a red onion last time, this recipe made 16 cakes, with each one having 76 calories, 5.7 g CHO, 1.5 g fibre, 5.2 g protein, 3.6 g fat. The dressing used 2 T olive oil and made 8 T total, with each T having 35 calories, 1.6 g CHO, 0 g fibre, 0 g protein, 3.4 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices, including how much of each ingredient you actually put in.

Fish cakes can be stored in fridge or frozen after cooking and reheated. Dressing keeps well and can also be used as a honey mustard salad dressing.

To have 1 cup of beans handy, we cook a large batch and freeze them in 1-cup quantities, then take them out of the freezer to thaw a night or two beforehand.

Cooked beans

dried beans at the bottom of the instant pot insert

For any recipe calling for cooked beans, you can use canned beans, or you can cook them from dried.

I cook dried beans in an instant pot. I typically cook them in large batches in advance of two or three meals that use a given bean.

I pour in an amount of dried beans (usually about an inch or 2.5 cm worth on the bottom of the pot), add a generous handful of salt and any other seasonings I feel like (e.g., for black beans, I often add cumin; for white beans, I often toss in a sprig of rosemary because I am drowning in rosemary from my garden last year) then I add water to cover by at least 2 inches or 5 cm.

I set the instant pot to cook at pressure for a short period of time and then let the pressure release naturally for a longer time. The usual times I use are:

  • black beans: 5 minutes at high pressure, 27 minutes natural release
  • white beans: 5 minutes at high pressure, 25 minutes natural release
  • chickpeas: 20 minutes at high pressure, 30 minutes natural release

Once the natural release is done, I quick release any remaining pressure, rinse the cooked beans, and store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. If they are a bit harder than I’d like, I add them to soup/stew recipes earlier to let them soften more in the cooking process.

There are many other ways to cook beans from dried and lots of people have opinions about how to do it best. If you don’t like or cannot use my method, I recommend seeking other instructions online, or using canned beans.

Black bean, sweet potato, and peanut stew

stew with cilantro & peanuts

This is an adaptation of a recipe in Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Among other changes, the original has no cauliflower, uses chickpeas instead of black beans, uses less peanut butter, and has a different order of cooking. We tried the original first, and it was good, too, but my family prefers this adaptation.


  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 onions (red if you have them, any kind is fine)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 T chili powder
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 2 large (798mL) cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 3 sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow if you can get them)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes (~500g)
  • about half a large head of cauliflower (~500g)
  • salt & pepper
  • about 225g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, peanuts only, no sugar or salt)
  • about 1.5-2L broth or stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 3-6 c cooked black beans (canned is fine, I cook dried beans ahead of time in an instant pot)
  • 150-300g spinach, kale, or another green
  • cilantro or parsley, for serving
  • roasted salted peanuts, for serving



  1. Chop onions (bowl/group A)
  2. Mince garlic (bowl/group B)
  3. Have chili powder and cayenne ready to go in with garlic (bowl/group B)
  4. Dice peppers, sweet & jalapeño (bowl/group C)
  5. Scrub or peel sweet potatoes (peel if you just can’t get them clean, but the peel is good so leave it on if it’s ok)
  6. Chop sweet potatoes into cubes (bowl/group C)
  7. Chop or tear cauliflower into small bites (bowl/group C)
  8. Open cans of tomatoes (bowl/group C)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add bowl/group A (onion) and a pinch of salt.
  3. Sauté until onion is translucent.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Add bowl/group B (garlic, spices) and a pinch of salt, stir for a minute or so.
  6. Pour in a bit of the liquid from a can of tomatoes and scrape up any browned bits.
  7. Add the rest of bowl/group C (tomatoes with their juices, peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato), a pinch of salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  8. Increase heat to medium-high.
  9. While the pot is starting to heat up, mix peanut butter with about a cup of broth/stock. (You can do this by whisking them together in a bowl or a tall liquid measure, or shaking them in a jar. I recommend the jar method, especially if you are using chunky peanut butter.)
  10. Add the rest of the broth/stock to the pot and bring it to a boil. (This will be faster if you cover the pot.)
  11. Once the pot has come to a boil, reduce heat to low.
  12. Add peanut butter-broth mixture to the pot.
  13. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until sweet potato and cauliflower are tender.
  14. Add black beans and greens to the pot.
  15. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  16. When greens are wilted and everything is heated through, serve with chopped herbs (cilantro or parsley) and roasted peanuts.


~30 cups, or 15 servings


Made with 6 c beans and 2L broth/stock, this usually works out to about 30 cups total stew, with a 2-cup serving having 260 calories, 35g CHO, 10g fibre, 12.5g protein, 9g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in.

This freezes reasonably well, though the peppers’ texture will change a little. Unfrozen, leftovers keep well in the fridge for at least 4-5 days. Leftovers get eaten quickly here as it’s a family favourite.

You can serve this over rice if you like rice. My kids love it this way. I’ve also mixed cooked quinoa (1 cup dry) right in, and that was great.

Bean, Barley & Greens Stew

bean & barley stew with grated parmesan & pepper

This is one of our family’s absolute favourites. When we have lots of leftovers on offer for hot lunches, this is often the dish that gets eaten first. I prefer it vegetarian; the rest of the family prefers it with a little leftover sausage to really bring out its close-to-cassoulet flavour. This is an adaptation of Bean & Barley Soup from Eating Well.


  • 1 T olive oil

Group 1

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • a head of garlic, minced
  • 4-8 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 t fennel seed (or substitute a bulb or two of fennel for some of the celery)
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped (optional)
  • a pinch of salt

Group 2

  • 6 c cooked white beans (canned is fine, you will need 3 standard 15-oz cans)
  • 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • ~8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • 1.5 c barley
  • a pinch of salt

Group 3

  • lots of greens; e.g., 500g frozen kale or 300g fresh baby spinach
  • a big handful of fresh basil (frozen fresh basil works beautifully)
  • cooked sausage, bacon, ham, etc. (optional)
  • a pinch of salt


  • grated parmesan (optional)
  • freshly ground pepper


  • Sauté group 1 in olive oil for 6-8 minutes in a large soup pot.
  • Mash 1 cup of the beans, then add group 2 to the pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until barley is tender, about 15-25 minutes depending on type of barley and how aggressively the pot is simmering.
  • Stir in group 3 and cook a few minutes until greens are cooked through and still bright green (about 3 minutes for frozen kale, more like 1 minute for fresh baby spinach.)
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Garnish with grated parmesan, if desired, and pepper.


Makes about 30 1-cup scoops, or about 15 servings.


Made with carrots included, 2L broth/stock, and no optional sausage last time, this worked out to about 30 cups total stew, with a 2-cup serving having 226 calories, 48.2 g CHO, 12.5 g fibre, 11.8 g protein, 2 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in.

This freezes very well. Leftovers also keep well in the fridge for at least 4-5 days.

Bean chili

This is a huge favourite in our family. It requires pre-cooked or canned beans and a bit of chopping, but is otherwise extremely easy to make. This is an adaptation of Easy Vegetarian Chili from Eating Well.

bean chili with grated cheddar and cilantro


  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil

starting vegetables

  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 sweet peppers, chopped
  • 4-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-8 stalks celery, chopped


  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • some ground coriander (you can get away with a small amount if ground fresh, use 1-2 t if you bought it ground)
  • about 4 t total of a mix of dried oregano, parsley, and basil (depending on taste and availability)
  • several generous sprinkles chipotle powder (if chipotle powder is not available, use 1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne) (optional but recommended)
  • 1 t Aleppo pepper (optional but recommended)
  • salt & pepper

beans, corn, tomatoes

  • 2-3 L (8-12 c) cooked beans (a mix we like is about 1.2 L white beans, 1.2 L black beans, and perhaps some black-eyed peas and chickpeas; canned is fine, I cook dried beans ahead of time in an instant pot)
  • kernels from 3 cobs corn, cooked (optional but recommended)
  • 2 large (798 mL or 28 oz) cans diced tomatoes in their juice

leafy greens

  • about 8 c leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté starting vegetables 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add spices, sauté for another 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add beans, corn, tomatoes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, simmer until heated (5-10 minutes) and then as long as you want (another hour or two). Longer simmering helps the flavours meld but is not strictly necessary.
  6. Add greens and let them wilt.
  7. Season again with salt & pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with grated cheddar cheese if you like cheese.


~24 cups, which makes 24 small servings or 10-12 large servings


Last time I made this, I used 3 L of beans (a mix of black and white), the total recipe made 23 cups, and a 1-cup serving had: 163 calories, 30 g CHO, 9 g fibre, 9 g protein, 1 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in. (Also note that my husband believes that servings of this should be 2-3 cups, not 1 cup. He is a big, big fan.)

This freezes well. The peppers’ texture will change a little, but it doesn’t seem to matter in chili. Unfrozen, leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.