Monday, 18 April 2011

Red lentil lasagne

There was an interesting discussion on Facebook this week, when I asked if anyone else is cooking more vegetarian meals due to the cost of meat. It turns out many people are - even the "cheap cuts" aren't that cheap these days, and personally I like to eat "happy" meat, which has been humanely raised (not what you typically get at Pak N Save).

So, bring on the lentils! I've experimented a bit with them and the texture when cooked is not that dissimilar to mince. I made a lentil dhal which was really good served with wedges, and this lasagne, and I'm going to try something like spaghetti bolognese or maybe tacos... I think I'll cook up a big batch, maybe in the slow cooker, and freeze it in portions. Then I can have quick easy meals after work. Here's what I did for the lasagne. Let me know if you try it!


Start off frying a chopped onion and 2-3 chopped garlic cloves. Rinse 1 cup red lentils and add to the pan with 2 cups of water and 1 can of chopped tomatoes. Add about 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, and any herbs you like such as basil, oregano or thyme (fresh or dried). Cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until lentils are tender. It's better to have it slightly runny - add a bit of water if you need to - so that the dry pasta sheets will soften and cook properly. (Or precook your sheets!)

Keep checking on the mixture while it cooks, it may need more water. Mine took quite some time to cook, probably because I didn't cover the pan.

While that's cooking, make a white sauce with 1 tbsp marg, 1 tbsp flour and 2 cups milk. (If yours turns into a lumpy mess like mine did, sieve it and thicken it with a bit of cornflour dissolved in milk. Then resolve to make it in the microwave next time because at least it won't burn on the bottom.)

Spray an oven dish with oil and layer up the mixture alternating with a packet of lasagne sheets. I layered thusly: lentils, lasagne, lentils, lasagne, white sauce, lentils, lasagne, white sauce, grated cheese. Then bake in the oven at 180 C for 35-40 mins.


  1. Hi Ruth we have been eating more vegetarian meals too, about a year ago we started having one or two meals a week using lentils instead of meat. My fav is Korma curry with potato, pumpkin and brocolli or cauli add a tin of chick peas at the end. Have to admit the kids are not big fans of the vegetarian meals.

  2. Oh yum, love a good korma curry especially with pumpkin! Pumpkin is one of the good things about winter...



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