Now that the evenings are a little bit more chilly I am seriously craving comfort food and having just watched the programme on "The Truth about Meat' clearly we need to readdress the amount of red meat we are eating. As a family we have reduced our intake enormously but sometimes you just crave it! So I was extremely please when I created this little beauty and the boys didn't even realise there wasn't any meat in it, it's also packed full of veggies. Have a go and let me know what your crew think of it - just don't tell them what's in it until they've eaten it!!
Serves 4-6 (depending if you are feeding children or adults)
250g green lentils, cooked
1 large red onion, diced
2 clove garlic, chopped or grated
2 carrots, grated
1 large courgette, grated
1 tsp celery salt or a couple of celery sticks
4 tbsp tomato puree
1.5 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
Sea salt and pepper to season
3 large parsnips, cut into cubes
1 whole large cauliflower cut into florets
2 tbsp Olive Oil
125ml Almond milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
If you're not a vegan sprinkle with grated cheese or feta - yum!
Heat oven 200C.
To make the lentil base, fry the onions and garlic in the coconut oil until soft and translucent.
Add the grated carrot, courgettes and thyme - pop the lid on and cook gently for about 10-15mins - checking it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. It should be quite moist as the courgettes are watery.
Add the tomato puree and mix through well.
Add the lentils, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Gently simmer for further 15mins, if you feel it's too dry add a little water.
While this is cooking, make the topping. Pop parsnips into a pan with water and bring to the boil, when boiled for 5 mins add the cauliflower florets for about 7mins or until both are cooked through.
Drain and mash with a potato masher over a low heat to dry the mixture off slightly, again careful not to catch on the bottom of the pan.
Add the almond milk, olive oil and sea salt and pepper.
Taste both and add more seasoning if you need to.
In an oven proof dish pour the lentils and cover with the mash. Sprinkle cheese on if desired and pop in the oven until browned and bubbling!
Serve with greens or salad.
You can always make and cook this the day before, flavours will become more intense and delicious!