by Angie Booth
This is healthy, simple and filling. I love the combination of lentils and squash but it works well with other vegetables too so I will often throw in things like celery, mushrooms or whatever needs using up. You can, of course, skip the goat’s cheese or use vegan cheese.
Lentils are a great source of iron and other minerals and they have the third highest protein of all beans and legumes (after soya and hemp). I’ve used puy lentils here as I love the texture and taste, plus they’re quick to cook. You could easily swap these for red or green lentils. Adapt your cooking times accordingly and remember you might need to pre-soak certain pulses.
I usually prepare most of this dish the day before so that I’ve got a meal ready to hand when I know I’m going to have less time. If you’re prepping in advance, follow all the instructions up to step 6 and also pour over the coconut milk. When you are ready to eat it, bake it in a preheated oven for 20 minutes – add the grated cheese for the last five minutes of the cooking time. Always let it rest a little while, once you bring it out of the oven, to let the flavours really come out.
Ingredients – serves 4
- 125g puy lentils
- 100g butternut squash, diced
- 200ml coconut millk
- 80g hard goat’s cheese, grated
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or very thinly sliced
- 40g parsley, chopped
- half a red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced to garnish
- optional salt, pepper and/or dried herbs to season
How to make it
1. Preheat the oven to a moderate heat – 180 C (gas mark 4 or 350 F).
2. Place the lentils in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes, drain and set aside.
3. While the lentils are cooking, spread the diced squash on a baking tray, cover with 2 tbs of the olive oil and place in the oven (optional – sprinkle with fennel seeds or other seasoning and herbs of choice).
4. Roast the squash for 10 mins until nearly tender. Leave the oven on.
5. Saute the garlic in a large pan with the remaining oil, stir in the cooked lentils, squash and 50ml of coconut milk. Simmer for 5 mins.
6. Pour the mixture into a large oven-proof dish or four individual ramekins.
7. Pour over the remaining coconut milk and bake for 15 mins.
8. Sprinkle over the grated goat’s cheese and return it to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
9. Garnish with the chopped parsley and chilli.
Serve with steamed greens such as kale, or a salad. Add a serving of rice to make it go further.