I do try to cook vegetarian meals occasionally and recently I’ve been thinking that perhaps we should have more meat-free meals in our diet. So, I’ve decided to make a change and try to include one per week. Aside from the calories, this will certainly help bring down food costs.
When I do cook vegetarian meals, it tends to be curries or pasta. Vegetables are hidden in the sauce. So, after some hunting through my cookbooks, I came up with this tomato and green lentil salad. It’s perfect for this summer weather, eaten warm or cold and is perfect for a side dish, a packed lunch or served with slices of roasted butternut squash or sweet potato for a delicious vegetarian main.
I found this in Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home – a favourite of mine and even though she focuses on meals for special occasions, there are some great casual eating recipes in there. Another vegetarian dish from here which is worth trying is her harissa roast vegetables, covered on a past blog post.
As you’re probably aware, I blog for the Midlands Co-op and for this recipe, I got virtually all of my ingredients from our local store. I haven’t been to a big supermarket for months now and don’t plan to anytime soon. You always end up spending more than you need to and lose hours in the process! The Co-op is perfect for me as I can nip in on my way home from work (and because its a ‘co-operative’ the points you collect go towards a payment from the profits as well as the usual discount vouchers etc..)
Ingredients serves 4
- 5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
- 100g puy or green lentils
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- sea salt & black pepper
- 300g cherry tomatoes halved
- 150ml couscous
- 150ml hot vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp each chopped coriander and mint
- 3 tbsp thick natural Greek yoghurt
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil on a low heat and add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 mins until completely soft and caramelised.
- Whilst the onions are caramelising, cook the lentils. Rinse and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 1cm (1/2 inch) and simmer for 20-30 minutes until soft. Drain, then add the lemon juice and remaining oil and season with s&p.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7.
- Place the tomatoes in a roasting tin, cut side up and drizzle with olive oil and season with s&p, then place in the oven for about 15 mins or until softened and a little scorched at the edges.
- In a large bowl, mix the couscous with the hot stock and leave to sit for 5 mins or until absorbed and soft, then allow to cool. When cooled, mix together with the lentils, tomatoes and onions and stir in the chopped herbs.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the yoghurt and garlic and season with salt. Disperse teaspoons of the garlic yoghurt throughout the couscous salad without mixing them in and serve.