Lentil Vegetable Bake
We all need to get more meat free meals into our week. It's better for you + the planet, particularly if your protein swap is sustainably produced + cheaper! Lentils are a great source of both protein + carbohydrate. They are a known cancer prevention food along with helping with heart health due to their antioxidant properties. Aim to have them twice a week in your eating if you can.
As a time conscious.. slightly lazy cook, I love red lentils, as you can use them raw + they take less cooking time than many lentils.
This recipe is really a matter of what vegetables do you have in the fridge or pantry? I hope a few! It can be more family friendly if you include some vegetables that you know your kids will eat. It does take some prep time, but I make one big pan full + it does two dinners or dinner + lunches all week. It is well worth it.
- 40 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook.
- Oven tray, deep (atleast 10cm deep by 35cm long x 20 cm wide) oven pan, pot for white sauce, large pan for lentil sauce, spoon, knife, spatula, cup.
- Oven with grill + cooktop needed.
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
- 4 fresh or dried bay leaves.
- 1 cup raw red lentils, washed.
- 2 brown onions diced.
- 2 cloves garlic diced/minced.
- 400g canned chopped Australian tomatoes or 6 fresh diced tomatoes.
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
- 2 teaspoons sugar if using tomato paste only.
- Water (hot or cold) 3-4 cups
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Minimum 5 types of washed vegetables that you can slice into .5cm slices + leave the skin on. In this recipe I used : 4 small sweet potato, 4 desiree potato, 4 red capsicum, 1 large eggplant, 5 carrots, 4 zucchini.
- Olive oil + salt + pepper.
Lazy white sauce
- 3 cups of milk.
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour.
- 1 handful of grated cheese (tasty or mozzarella is fine).
Rocket or baby spinach for serving
- Heat oil in pan until hot, add onion, bay leaves, red lentils + stir for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic + stir for 2-3 minutes until lentils begin to lighten in colour.
- Add tomato, paste/sugar or sauce + continue to stir until pan begins to stick then add water - one cup at a time until lentils absorb the liquid.
- Turn down heat + let this simmer with the lid on until you are ready to use it, stirring occassionally. It should be thick + not runny. If it is still runny, leave the lid off while it simmers.
- Slice these with the skin on + pre grill them on one side only with salt + pepper + drizzle of olive oil. Do not fully cook them. This may take you a few rounds depending on the size of your oven/grill.
- When you are finishing using the grill for vegetables - pre heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of corn flour in a cup with 2-3 tablespoons of the milk until you have a paste.
- Heat the remaining milk in a saucer until it is warm.
- Slowly add in the corn flour paste whilst mixing the milk + continue to mix until you have a thick white sauce. Turn off + add in cheese.
Putting it together by layering the vegetables firstly, single layers of one vege at at time. Then the lentil sauce, then the white sauce. You can top with cheese also if you like extra crunch but I have a fussy child with cheese issues, so we just stick with what's in the "milk" sauce so its not as obvious.
Put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until your top begins to brown.
Serve with rocket or a green salad.
This serves our family of 5 for two dinners.