You do not have to be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy this dish. Lentils are a great staple food which we should all think to put into our diets, as a way of reducing excessive meat consumption.
Lentils have had tough press over the years, with people wrongly assuming that only a ‘hippy’ would eat them. Well, I am glad to report that I know plenty of people (including myself) that eat lentils in bakes, soups and stews… and we are not sat crossed legged, with joss sticks and dread-locks!
Swapping meat for this lentil bake may take a little getting used to. It has a different texture and may not be a delight to the palate for a hardened carnivore. Although for those who want to make healthier changes to their diet, the humble lentil may be a cheap food but is certainly not cheap when it comes to being packed with good nutrition. They are a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, dietary fibre, and protein. Lentils help to lower cholesterol, reduce heart related diseases, aids digestion, increase energy levels, stabilise blood sugar levels (ideal for those with diabetes) and as they are low in calories, they can be of benefit to those who are wanting to lose weight. What I like about this lentil bake in particular, is that it is filling. So if you are watching what you eat, then there is no need to feel that horrid feeling of hunger.
I enjoy this lentil bake with a crisp salad and jacket potato. Please try it carnivores, as you may just like it.
• 300g pre-soaked red lentils (Tinned are ideal)
• 400g of chopped onions
• A slice of butter (you can substitute if vegan)
• 1 crushed garlic clove
• 10floz hot water
• 2 tsp of yeast extract
• 200g grated strong mature cheddar (substitute if vegan)
• 1 tsp of mixed herbs
• Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade and grease a good-sized dish. I use a pie dish. Heat the butter gently and add the garlic and onions. Continue cooking until translucent and golden. Then add the lentils and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the yeast extract and herbs to the hot water and stir until melted. In a large bowl place all ingredients together and mix well. Turn into the dish, cover with foil and then cook for approximately 45 minutes. If you like your lentil bake to have a crunchy top, then you could sprinkle some breadcrumbs near to the end of cooking and place under the grill until toasted. Or you could remove the foil ten minutes from the end of cooking, to let the top of the bake have more texture.