Food & Drink

Niall McKenna’s butter bean and sweetcorn soup and cauliflower salad with radicchio - recipes

Pack your soups with versatile vegetables

Niall McKenna's cauliflower radicchio salad
Niall McKenna's cauliflower radicchio salad

With more of us striving towards healthier diets packed with vegetables, it is always handy to have a couple of tasty dishes which we can cook with ingredients within arm’s reach in our cupboards and freezers, alongside staple ingredients readily available in your local shop.

Beans and cauliflower are two ingredients you can always find in our house. Any white bean is good for this soup including borlotti and broad beans and when accompanied by a generous sprinkle of pepper or chilli, this would be our go-to soup dish.

Cauliflower is a fantastically versatile ingredient and is superb in a salad. I have paired this with bitter leaves for that bit of bite. Many of us chefs have cauliflower on the menu as it is brilliantly adaptable and accessible and can be paired with a multitude of ingredients to make it extra tasty.

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Niall McKenna's butter bean, borlotti and sweetcorn soup
Niall McKenna's butter bean, borlotti and sweetcorn soup

Butter bean and sweetcorn soup

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock
  • ½ stick celery, finely diced
  • 400g potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 x 400g tin sweetcorn
  • 1 x 250g tin butter bean or borlotti bean
  • 1 stalk coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Start by heating the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, adding in the onions and cooking until translucent for approximately 6 minutes.
  • Next, add in the potatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Then cover with the chicken stock (you can use a vegetable stock if you want to keep the dish vegetarian).
  • Next, add in the celery, sweetcorn and beans, cooking on a simmer until the potatoes and beans are tender.
  • Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a garnish of fresh spring onion and coriander.
  • If you want to spice this up a bit then you could add 250g of crab meat, half a finely chopped red chilli and a squeeze of lime.

Cauliflower salad with radicchio


(Serves 4)

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 radicchio head, separated into leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed if in brine
  • 10 anchovies, finely diced
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • To start, cook off your cauliflower to make it a bit more tender, then cut it into florets.
  • Next, turn your oven onto its highest setting. Scatter the florets over a roasting tin, seasoning with salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil, making sure that all sides are coated. Place in oven for 20 minutes until it begins to go golden. Remove from oven.
  • In a separate bowl or a clean jam jar, shake the dressing ingredients vigorously. Place the cauliflower florets in a bowl and cover with some of the dressing. Leave to sit for up to 10 minutes.
  • Slice the radicchio and remove all the leaves from the stalk, chopping in half. Place the radicchio into the bowl with the cauliflower and coat with the rest of the dressing and mix.
  • To serve, have a taste test first as depending on your tastebuds, you may want more salt or pepper.