175g green lentils
1 big bunch of spinach
225g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1½ tsp garam masala
1½ tsp curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp salt
40g toasted breadcrumbs
25g plain flour
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.
Boil the lentils in 750ml water. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer lentils to a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.
Meanwhile, place the spinach in a saucepan and sprinkle over a little water and heat until wilted.
Steam the sweet potato for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Add the potato to the lentils and mash thoroughly.
In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil. Add the onion, garam masala, curry powder and cayenne and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the spinach and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing to combine.
Mix the spinach-onion mixture into the lentil mixture. Stir in the eggs, coriander and salt. Fold in the breadcrumbs and flour. Adjust seasonings. Shape into 8 burgers.
In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the burgers and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
Buy Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger at Amazon.
Since recently discovering cheese-topped baps in Tesco, they’d become my lunch, filled with Violife vegan cheese slices, vegan mayo and salad (yes, I know there’s not really much point putting vegan cheese and vegan mayo into dairy cheese-topped baps but I’ve still got loads of Violife cheese slices to use up and I prefer vegan mayo to the eggy stuff).
But after eating homemade muffins and sultana loaf and having pizza and galic bread over the weekend, I was a bit breaded out. So, today I went back to making soup (I should have been meeting uni friends for pancakes but the screenwriting tutorial timetable scuppered that plan).
Hooray, it appears I made it successfully through a Vegan Monday for a change. No lip balm or hot chocolate slip-ups this time. I had fruit for breakfast, mulligatawny soup for lunch and a vegan chocolate peanut butter bar as a snack along with my vegan hot chocolate.
And also for a change, I made a proper dinner and didn’t just heat up a frozen burger-type product and serve it with chips and beans.
Aubergine, tomato and red lentil curry (serves 4)
(Adapted from Easy Vegan)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large aubergine, chopped into large chunks
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ginger, grated
250g cherry tomatoes
6-8 curry leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato puree
125g red lentils
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and add the aubergine. Cook the aubergine until it darkens and the oil it’s absorbed seeps back out, about 10 minutes. Remove the aubergine from the pan and set to one side.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften and collapse, then remove them from the pan and set aside with the aubergine.
Add the curry leaves and cumin to the pan and cook for a few minutes, as the curry leaves pop and crackle. Add the chilli powder, tomato puree, 500ml water and the lentils and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but retain some bite. About 5 minutes from the end, stir in the aubergine and tomatoes and heat through.
Operation Stop Being A Fat Lazy Cow began yesterday and although I had a slice of cheese and onion pie for dinner, it was home made and therefore sort of healthy. Healthier than frozen pie and chips, anyway.
Today, I made spinach and lentil soup which is one of those soups that makes you feel healthier just by looking at it.
We were playing Guess the Soup last week on Twitter. Heidi made us guess mulligatawny and although I came up with the winning guess, I said I didn’t think I’d ever had mulligatawny. Heidi said I must make it, it’s delicious, so I said okay then, I’ll give it a go next week.
Now it is next week and I’ve made and eaten my first ever mulligatawny soup. I can safely say that not only is it indeed delicious, it leaves your kitchen beautifully aromatic.
I’ve just finished a bowlful and the only reason I’m not going back for seconds is that it’s a hearty soup and I don’t want to get too full for dinner. Also, there’s chickpeas in it and I’m having chickpea and aubergine casserole later.
I should have learnt my lesson last week when making burgers that they’re a bit of a faff. These took almost two hours to make (although the recipe says one hour – I’m a slow cook) and I really did think I’d spent two hours making something that was going to turn out to be a disaster.
The lentils and bulgur wheat didn’t absorb their water and although I could just about drain the bulgur wheat, the lentils were soggy and I thought there’s no way these burgers are going to firm up.
Still, I persevered, and they didn’t fall apart too much in the frying pan but even after they’d come out of the oven they weren’t that firm but they tasted okay and I could imagine them being great cold, stuffed into pitta bread with salad. Not a recipe I’m going to be making again though (not that I would need to for a while – there’s four leftover in the freezer)
75g brown or red lentils 50g bulgur wheat 4 tablespoons olive oil 8 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 medium leeks, cleaned and finely chopped 1 teaspoon dried thyme 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon tomato purée 50g toasted cashews 2 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 50g toasted breadcrumbs
Bring the lentils and at least 475ml water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and beginning to fall apart. Transfer to a baking sheet or mixing bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, bring 150ml water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur wheat with a pinch of salt, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for about 7 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture and it evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and wipe out the sauté pan.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are completely softened and beginning to caramelise, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and stir to mix.
Combine half of the lentils, half of the bulgur wheat and half of the leek mixture with the cashews, eggs, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until uniformly pureed but still slightly chunky. Add the puréed mixture and the remaining lentils and bulgur wheat to the remaining leek mixture in the bowl. Work in the breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.
In a large ovenproof frying pan or non-stick sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6-10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
I had a long(ish) run to do on Saturday morning, so that was as good an excuse as any to have spaghetti the night before. Unfortunately, The Meat Eater didn’t look at his phone and get my ‘can you get some spaghetti when you go to Tesco please’ text, so I had to improvise and have half spaghetti and half pasta shapes.
The lentil and tomato sauce was a tad too bland for me and my lack of tastebuds, so I improved it by covering it in cheese and Encona Hot Pepper Sauce.
A quick and easy dish, with ingredients that you’ll probably already have in (if you haven’t run out of spaghetti).
3 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1 large garlic clove, crushed 400g can chopped tomatoes 1/2 tsp dried basil or oregano 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon 225g split red lentils 425ml water 2 tbsp red wine (optional) salt and freshly ground black pepper 225g spaghetti grated Parmesan-style cheese, to serve (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, with a lid on the pan, until tender (about 10 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, then add the tomatoes, herbs, cinnamon, lentils, water and wine (if using) and bring to the boil.
Simmer the mixture with a lid on the saucepan for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Shortly before the lentils are done, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water until just tender, then drain thoroughly in a colander.
Tip the drained spaghetti back into the still-hot saucepan, and add the remaining oil and some freshly ground black pepper.
Add the sauce to the spaghetti, mix gently and serve. Or, if you prefer, serve the spaghetti on warm plates and top with the sauce.
Another courgette recipe, again from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. We still have two courgettes in the fridge and apparently there are more to come out of the greenhouse, so there’ll be even more courgette recipes on the way soon.
I made a courgette and smoked feta cheese soup last week, but didn’t blog it. It was simply two sliced courgettes, one medium sized sliced potato, cover with stock, season with salt and pepper, simmer for about 20 minutes, then add some cubed smoked feta (I used the one made by Yamas) and blend.
Tonight I made a lentil and courgette gratin (in Rose Elliot’s cookbook, there are variations for lentil and mushroom, lentil and celery, lentil and tomato, and lentil and fennel) and served it with a Quorn Peppered Steak, boiled potatoes, steamed broad beans and steamed green beans. Next time, I’ll serve it on its own with the potatoes and vegetables; it was a meal in itself and didn’t need the Quorn Peppered Steak.
Lentil and courgette gratin (serves 4)
175g split red lentils 1 pint milk and water mixed 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, sliced 1 tsp grated lemon rind 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice salt and freshly ground black pepper~ 1 tsp yeast extract or 1-2 tsp soy sauce 450g courgettes, sliced
For the topping
25g fresh breadcrumbs 25g grated cheese
Put the lentils into a saucepan with the milk and water and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are golden and tender.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.
Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in another saucepan, add the onion, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender but not brown. Add to the lentils with the lemon rind and juice, salt, pepper and yeast extract or soy sauce. Blend this mixture to make a smooth, thick purée.
Fry the courgettes in the remaining oil until tender.
Place the fried courgettes in a shallow baking dish and pour the lentil mixture over the top to cover.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
While I was out running yesterday, I had the urge to make moussaka. I don’t know why, as I usually find it a bit of a faff and I’m not especially fond of faff.
I said to The Meat Eater that I was going to make moussaka and he asked why that reminded him of Demis Roussos. I said because it’s Greek? The Meat Eater said yes. I said I could put some Demis on if he liked but The Meat Eater said no. Then I said we could watch Abigail’s Party but The Meat Eater said no to that too.
450g aubergines, sliced 115g green lentils 600ml vegetable stock 1 bay leaf 225g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped 25ml olive oil 1 onion, sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 225g mushrooms, sliced 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 400g can chopped tomatoes 2 tbsp tomato puree 2 tsp dried basil 300ml natural yoghurt 3 eggs 50g cheese, grated salt and black pepper
Place the lentils, stock and bay leaf in a pan. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender. Drain well and keep warm.
Heat 10ml/2 tsp of the oil in a large, non-stick pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, fresh and canned tomatoes, tomato puree, basil and 45ml/3 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the slices in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning once.
Season the lentil mixture. Layer the aubergines and lentils in an ovenproof dish, starting with aubergines and finishing with the lentil mixture.
Beat together the yoghurt, eggs and sale and pepper, and pour the mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.