Lentils, Baby Leaf Greens and Quinoa Bake


Hosting a meal with friends and looking for a colourful dish to take the centre stage? This is definitely the one for you if you’re scratching your head over what to cook for your vegetarian or health conscious friends. Packed with natural sources of protein, healthy ingredients and (I’d argue most importantly) flavour, you can’t go wrong with this one. Even the serial meat-eater I cooked this for asked for seconds, which in my household is a golden review of a vegetarian dish. The crunch of the almonds give this soft dish a lovely texture and the feta really shines through as a fresh contrast to these heavier Indian flavours. Delicious.

Now the downside of this dish is that it took quite a lot longer than I was anticipating, clearly having not read the recipe through very thoroughly before I embarked on this little cooking adventure! The pay off for the flavours in this dish is the time spent simmering to allow these to fully seep in. While I wanted to give you a heads up about this, the good news is that this dish reheats really well and you can either partially or fully make this dish in advance and heat it through if you’re serving it up to guests. Or alternatively like me, you could cook a big batch at the weekend and then enjoy it for lunch for a few days later. If you’re someone who does a sunday cook off, this is a great one to add to your repertoire. There’s enough for 5-6 portions here, so there’s plenty to go round.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil of your choice (I used coconut oil)
  • 2 large red onions, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 300g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 200g dried green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 125g quinoa
  • 60g whole almonds, skins on
  • 200g baby leaf greens of your choice (I used a mix of kale and spinach)
  • 100g feta, crubled
  • 50g dried apricots, roughly chopped

How to make it…

  1. Get two medium sized saucepans ready. In saucepan 1, fry the onions, ginger, chilli and turmeric in oil, for around 5-7 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Transfer 1/3 of the mix to saucepan 2 and leave to one side.
  2. Add the cumin seeds to saucepan 1 and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the cumin starts to become fragrant. Then stir in the carrots and lentils, followed by the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and then leave to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Add the garam masala and quinoa to saucepan 1 and then leave to simmer for another 20 minutes. If there is any liquid left, take off the lid and let the remaining liquid boil away. At the same time, add the chopped tomatoes to saucepan 2 and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes as well until it has become very thick.
  4. While you’re waiting for the two mixes to cook, pop your almonds in the oven and roast for around 6-7 minutes. When they’re ready, roughly chop them and leave to one side. You can also blanch the baby leaf greens here with a splash of boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Finally, mix the contents of the two saucepans together, leaving a little tomato mix from saucepan 2 to one side. Then spread the mix in an oven dish, leveling out the top with a spoon. Then add the blanched greens, spreading these over the top with the leftover tomato mix to form the top. Then bake in the oven at 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle over the feta, chopped nuts and apricots to serve, and season with a little black pepper.
  7. Enjoy!

Adapted from the April 2016 edition of the myWaitrose magazine, page 42, ‘Baked baby green wraps with lentils, almonds and quinoa’.


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