Green Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coriander (v)

My son said this tasted “healthy” 😂 he was right. It tasted like the inside of a 1980s health food shop would smell but in a warming and pleasant way.

For six portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 leek, washed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sticks celery, ditto
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Saute the leek and celery in the oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add the spices and lentils. Stir to coat then add the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 mins until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blitz until smooth with a stick blender, season to taste and add the parsley. Enjoy with a side of alfalfa and a sprinkle of nostalgia 😉
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Lentil Roast (v)

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I love a good veggie roast. You can keep your soggy filo pastry wrapped monstrosities. Give me a nut or a lentil roast any day of the week, but especially so on a Sunday.

I’m in festive planning mode at the moment and have tweaked this recipe to deliver a tasty and satisfying addition to our planned festive platefuls on the big day. It’s also nice cold in sandwiches with cranberry sauce, leftover stuffing and chestnuts.

For 6-8 portions you need

  • 225g split red lentils
  • 425ml veg stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp dried garlic granules
  • 2 slices brown bread processed into breadcrumbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. Place everything apart from the lemon juice and breadcrumbs into a pan. A non stick one is best to prevent the lentils from sticking but it’s not essential.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 mins until the lentils have broken down and gone lovely and soft.
  3. Add the lemon juice and breadcrumbs and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. Scrape out into a lined 1lb loaf tin and smooth the surface. Bake in a hot (180 degree) oven for 20-25 mins until lightly golden on top. Serve at once with all the usual trimmings.

Rose Elliot’s Lentil Croquettes (v)

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After a week on holiday eating and drinking whatever we wanted, I thought it was about time to get back into the kitchen and prepare something vaguely nutritious… These hit the spot. I love red lentils but usually just lob them into a dhal. I forget how lovely they are in their own right.

Rose’s recipe is very simple to follow. I added 2 tsp of marigold stock powder to the lentil cooking water as I like to boost the flavour a little. The mixture was also a little sloppy after I added the lemon juice and onions so I added 100g fresh breadcrumbs to stiffen it a little before shaping into croquettes. They were delicious hot for our tea and also nice cold for my lunch the following day. Enjoy!

Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.

Savoury Lentil Stew (v)

This was made for days like this. Cold days when you’re tired and in need of warming from the inside. After being away for a few days our house was a chilly 10 degrees when we got home so something filling and nutritious was in order.

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This makes a huge amount of stew. I’m batch cooking ahead for Christmas visitors. Obviously reduce quantities if you have less mouths to feed…

For 12-16 portions you need 

  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut into substantial chunks
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 swede peeled and cut into finger lengths
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup each of brown, green and puy lentils
  • 1.75ml stock
  • 1 tbsp each soya sauce, mushroom ketchup and veggie Worcester sauce
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  1. Begin by sweating the vegetables in the oil.
  2. Add the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 mins.
  3. Add the remaining seasonings and reduce the heat to minimal. Simmer without a lid for 45-60 mins until the lentils are tender. Add more water if necessary. You want the stock to be mostly absorbed so the final stew isn’t too wet.
  4. Season to taste and serve with mashed spuds and braised red cabbage. Utter comfort food heaven on a plate. It freezes well and also makes a good base for shepherd’s pie.

Thai Spiced Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup (v)

This quick but oh-so-tasty soup is based on this recipe. I had butternut squash to use up, along with some yellow thai curry paste and only 150ml coconut milk. The results were delicious and nicely filling for a working week day dinner. We had home made garlic bread along side to bulk it out a bit more. And poor old me gets to eat the leftovers for lunch today. It’s hard life 😉
For 4-6 portions you need
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger grated
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1cm chunks
½ cup red lentils
150ml coconut milk
1 litre vegan stock
2 tbsp thai yellow curry paste (this isn’t too spicy and uses turmeric to colour the paste yellow which also gives an earthy background note to the soup)
Sliced red chilli and chopped fresh coriander to serve
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice or fish sauce if not vegan
Begin by sweating the onion in the oil for 5 mins. Add the garlic, ginger, squash and curry paste and cook for a further 5 mins. Tip in the lentils then add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are cooked.
Blitz the soup until velvety and smooth. Add the soya sauce and lime juice or fish sauce. Serve in warmed bowls topped with the fresh zingy chilli slices and chopped coriander.

Red Lentil, Quinoa and Mixed Nut Roast (v)

I love a good nut roast. No, really I do. And I’d much rather see this on a pub/cafe menu for Sunday lunch than some god awful filo pastry thing filled with a suspicious cat sick looking filling going soggy in the gravy. Bleck. So, in an attempt to use up all those itty bitty packs of nuts lurking at the back of my cupboard I concocted this and it was a triumph (well we all enjoyed it and it was delicious cold the next day in sandwiches!).

For 8-10 slices you need
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tsp vegan stock powder
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts, peanuts and cashews)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp marmite
2 tsp vecon stock paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp hendersons relish/veggie worcester sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp pine nuts

Begin by placing the lentils, quinoa and stock powder in a pan and covering with exactly 1.5 cups water (you’re going to cook them by absorption). Bring to the boil, stir, and then reduce the heat as low as it will go and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 mins until the lentils are just done. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for a further 10 mins or so.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic until soft. Chop the nuts until half are quite finely chopped and the other half are a little more chunky.

Combine everything in a mixing bowl, apart from the pine nuts, and mix thoroughly. Add a few more breadcrumbs (or even a crumbled weetabix or two!) if the mixture looks too sloppy. You want it to the reasonably firm but not too stiff.

Scrape out into a pyrex dish and smooth down. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 45 mins until it’s crispy on top. Serve with the usual roast dinner accompaniments. I also like mine with lashings of cranberry or mint sauce. And don’t forget the gravy! Any leftover roast will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes a fab sarnie filling or it will also freeze well. I find it’s worth making a large batch and freezing one half for another day.

Chickpea and Red Lentil Vindaloo with Vegetables (v)

This was a vindaloo simply because that was the only curry paste I had left in the cupboard. Despite the name, it wasn’t too hot! Use any combination of vegetables and pulses that you like, this is simply what we needed to use up 🙂

For 4-6 portions you need
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp oil
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup red lentils
200ml water
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar

Begin by sauteeing the onion and garlic in the oil. Once soft, add the curry paste and cook out for a few mins. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 mins or so until the red lentils are done. Check the taste and adjust salt, sugar or chilli according to taste. Serve with rice, pickles and indian salad!

Lamb, Date and Almond Lentil Tagine

I adore Moroccan food. Absolutely, totally love it. Thankfully Fuz does too 😉 This was an easy and quick meal to use up some of the left over lamb from our Sunday roast. It would work well with leftover beef too.

For 2 portions you need
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp each turmeric, ground cumin, chilli flakes and ground coriander
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger
salt and pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp dates, roughly chopped
1 cup diced cooked lamb or beef
300ml lamb stock
1/2 cup red lentils
2 tbsp whole skinned almonds, toasted

Begin by frying the onion in the oil in the base of a tagine or other heavy based pan. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for another 5 mins or so. Add everything else apart from the almonds and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30-45 mins.

Add the toasted almonds 15 mins before you want to serve, and remove the lid to thicken the sauce. Delicious with the orange, onion and almond salad.