Monday, 7 May 2012

Vegetarian and Frugal


I've made one of my all time favourite veggie bakes today, and thought you would like to share the recipe.
For all you non-veggies out there, give this a try, it's delicious and incredibly frugal, I'll give serving suggestions at the end of the recipe.

I don't weigh things to the ounce, I do things by 'eye',  I'll give a rough idea of amounts for you, but it's all down to your own personal taste.

Red Lentil Bake

onions - I use two
celery - I use approx two sticks chopped, or in this case the remains of a bunch I had in the fridge
mushrooms - approx 6 ounces - more or less to your taste
red lentils - half a packet
Two eggs - beaten
Cheese - approx 6 ounces - grated
Veggie stock cubes x 2
Good spoonful chopped garlic
Herbs preferably fresh but dried will do
splash of olive oil
glug of Soy sauce

Put lentils in a bowl and cover with cold water, leave a couple of minutes, drain and repeat three times to remove starch/gritty bits etc.,

While the lentils are soaking, prepare veggies, chop onions, celery and wipe and slice mushrooms.

For the eagle-eyed amongst you, I didn't forget to include the eggs and cheese in the first 'ingredients' photo - I was just testing your powers of observation !

Place soaked lentils in a pan with small amount of water, put on heat while dissolving stock cubes in boiling water.

 Add the stock a little at a time and keep stirring every couple of minutes until the lentils have absorbed it all, make sure the mixture doesn't stick to the pan.  Add a glug of Soy sauce at this point, and salt and pepper if you want.  I never add extra salt to my recipes but it is up to you.  When the liquid has all been absorbed and you have a 'porridge' consistency, put aside to cool.

Next heat the olive oil in a pan, add celery, onions and garlic and cook until softened and starting to brown.

Then add mushrooms and continue to cook until softened but not mushy.  Allow to cool.

Drain off the oil from the onion/celery/mushroom mixture when cool and place in a clean bottle - here you have flavoured oil ready for another recipe.

You can keep adding used oil to the bottle to use in bland recipes using eggs, fish etc.,

Place the lentil mixture in a large mixing bowl together with the onion/celery/mushroom mixture and mix well,

 make sure it is cool, then add the two beaten eggs and most of the cheese, just reserve some for the top later.

Place in a loaf tin inside a larger tin with cold water half way up
A loaf tin is important, you'll see why later

Bake at 190 approx for 40 minutes, remove from the oven, sprinkle over the rest of the cheese, turn down the heat 150 , return to the oven for another 20 minutes, remove when topping is brown and, just like a cake, a knife comes out clean when inserted. 

Yum yum !

Serving suggestions :

Serve sliced hot with assorted veggies and baked potato or potato wedges and onion gravy
Allow to cool and slice, serve with salad and home made tomato salsa
Add a slice to a 'toastie' serve with brown sauce or tomato salsa
Make pastry, cut into squares, add slice of lentil bake, top with cheese, top with another square of pastry, brush with beaten egg  and bake, serve as above
Mash lentil bake, place in oven proof dish, top with mashed potato or swede or mixture of both, top with grated cheese and cook as for shepherds pie.

These are just a few ways I use this versatile dish.  You can see how cheap each meal would work out.

I always wrap individual slices and put in the freezer for future use.

This can also be made with whole green lentils (my preference actually) but I didn't have any, so red it was.

Another frugal way of using this recipe.

Make up as above up until the lentils are cooked and put aside to cool.  Add lightly fried, chopped onions and herbs only.
Spread half of the mixture in a pan/dish
Place 2/3 hard boiled eggs end to end depending on the size of your dish
Top with the other half of lentil mix
Top with grated cheese and bake.

Both these recipes with their mixture of lentils, cheese and eggs are a protein-packed meal.

Hope you  like this and take care peeps ..........


  1. Thanks for this post Wean, shall be trying this out. It sounds delicious.


  2. do try it - it's so economical and healthy too.

  3. I made this this week and it is lOVELY. Thank you for the recipe

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you for taking the time to let me know you made it.
    I hope you saved some to serve in the other ways suggested ?

  5. yes, it made 3 generous meals for two and would easily stretch to 4. I'm going to freeze some next time I make it. I love the fact that it is so versatile - I have stacks of different kinds of lentils - I'll use green ones next time - and I'm sure it would work if I used up any leftover veg in the fridge and different seasonings. I love using recipes from blogs - I know they are tries and tested by REAL people :-)



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