A simple lentil roast that young children (and older ones too!) love. The ingredients for this dish are simple and I generally have everything in the storecupboard to make it at a moment's notice. It’s good either hot or cold, with vegetarian gravy, mint sauce, chutney or pickles and freezes well before or after cooking and is very nutritious.
- 500g (1lb 4oz) split red lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 600ml (1 pint) water
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large onions, chopped
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wholemeal flour for dusting
- Extra olive oil for baking
- 1.2L (2 pints) water
Put the lentils and bay leaves into a (preferably non-stick) saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil. Cover and cook over a low heat for 15–20 minutes, until the lentils are tender, pale gold and dry, with no water left.
Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in another saucepan, put in the onion and cook gently, covered, for 10–15 minutes, until the onion is tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two more.
Mix the lentils with the onions, lemon rind and juice, mashing the lentils together as you do so. Then add salt and pepper as necessary: for adults, this needs plenty, but don’t add it if babies or toddlers are going to eat it.
Form the lentil mixture into a loaf shape and roll it lightly in wholemeal flour. Put the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil into a roasting tin and pop in a preheated oven, 200ºC (400ºF) gas mark 6, for a minute or two to heat.
Put the lentil loaf into the tin of hot oil, turning it so that it all gets coated, or spoon the oil over the top. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until golden.
Serve with green vegetables and vegetarian gravy. Some apple sauce is nice with it: you could bake a couple of cooking apples (skin pierced to prevent bursting) in the oven at the same time, then simply scoop out the soft, fluffy insides, add a little sugar to taste and serve with the roast.
Taken from Rose Elliot's Mother, Baby and Toddler Book, published by Hochland Communications.
Photo by Ant Jones for Cook Vegetarian!