This vegetable packed red lentil loaf is tasty, adaptable and frugal
I think that lentils can get a bit of a bad press, with their hippy and, shall we say, gaseous connotations. Which all in all is a shame as they are delicious, frugal and super easy to use.
For flavour I think the King of Lentils is the puy, but for ease, adaptability and speed of cooking the humble red lentil reigns supreme. Keep a jar in the kitchen and get into the habit of adding a handful to all sorts of dishes – soups, currys, stews and casseroles, even a dip!
The word lens (as in optics) is derived from the Latin lens – which means lentil. and the French for contact lens is lentilles de contact. Lentils are also really good for you, they contain the third highest level of protein of any legume, after soybeans and hemp, they are also packed with fibre, as well as nutrients such as potassium, folate and iron. Long live the lentil!
I do love an adaptable recipe that uses up all those bits and bobs at the bottom of the fridge, you know the sad soft peppers, the bendy carrots and the wilted spring onions. This veggie packed red lentil loaf will use them all up with no waste, and get you on the road to that all important extra portion of vegetables. You can also add cheese, and any leftover cooked meat or bacon if you need to convert someone to lentils, but I think it is best left as a simple vegetarian recipe.
Any leftovers can be sliced, fried and used as a sandwich or burger filling, or cut into fingers and used to fill lunch boxes the next day. This does take some time to cook, so it makes sense to have something else in the oven at the same time. Make sure that the lentils are well drained, the loaf should then firm up a little quicker.
- 250 g of red lentils
- 500 ml of vegetable stock
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped mixed vegetables - peppers courgette, peas, corn, carrots
- 1 egg beaten
- herbs to season
- pepper and other spices for seasoning
Place the lentils and stock in a saucepan and gently simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are soft. Strain into a sieve and stand to allow excess liquid to drain
Whilst the lentils are cooking fry the vegetables until they are starting to turn golden
Place the lentils, cooked vegetables (add any grated root vegetables at this stage) and egg into a bowl and mix. Season well with some herbs, spices and salt and pepper
Pour the mixture into a lined and greased 500g loaf tin and bake at GM5 / 190C (fan 180C) for 40 – 50 minutes until risen, golden brown and firm to the touch. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and then turn out
Serve sliced, or let it cool and fry to use as a burger