Lentil & Rice Casserole

I know I always say it, but this really is one of my favourites! And if you’re a meat-eater, don’t let the lack of meat put you off – this is blimmin’ delicious and will fill you up! It’s full of good stuff that will nourish your body. The chilli powder gives plenty of warmth, but if you prefer more spice, simply add more chilli powder or use fresh chopped chilli instead.

NB – I doubled the ingredients below and made a huge pan of this. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can take it to work for lunch the next day. Trust me! Your workmates will be green with envy!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

225g / 8oz red lentils (rinsed thoroughly)
55g / 2oz brown basmati rice
1.2 litres / 2 pints vegetable stock
400g / 14oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 leek, cut into thick chunks
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
100g / 3½ oz small broccoli florets
Large tin of sweetcorn, drained
55g / 2oz French beans (green beans), halved
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh basil
Fresh basil to garnish
Salt and pepper (preferably rock salt)

1. Place the lentils, rice and vegetable stock in a large flameproof casserole or non-stick lidded pan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

2. Add the leek, garlic, tomatoes and their juice, ground cumin, chilli powder, garam masala, sliced pepper, broccoli, sweetcorn and French beans to the pan.

lentil1

3. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

4. Add the shredded basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs and serve.

lentil2

NB. Keep your eye on the pan, making sure you stir on a low heat. If the pan is too hot or you don’t stir the mixture enough, it may stick to the bottom. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

NUTRITIONAL FACT

Lentils are a high protein, high fibre member of the legume family. Similar to a mini version of a bean, lentils grow in pods and can be found in red, brown and green varieties. They aren’t ‘carb-free’ but if you’re looking to cut out wheat and add protein then these are a brilliant way of doing so.

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