This is a recipe that I make in some form at least once a week, sometimes doubling the quantities so I’ve got enough for a couple of packed lunches too. It’s really straightforward and can be adapted to make use of your favourite vegetables or whatever you need to use up; for example, I sometimes add in butternut squash, beetroot or aubergine.
It’s the perfect autumn comfort food with hearty lentils, the warmth, gentle spices and sweetness from the roasted vegetables. I tend to dress it with either lemon juice and parsley or lime juice and coriander, which gives a slightly Mexican flavour, but I’ve included the option of both so you can pick which you prefer. This can be eaten as a side dish, or bulked up with some crumbled feta and served over baby salad leaves, maybe with pitta bread.
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
1 red or yellow pepper
1 red onion
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
125g puy lentils, or other brown/ green lentils
1 large handful cherry tomatoes
1 handful parsley or coriander
1 lemon or lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional, to serve: Baby leaf salad, pitta bread or wraps, feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Slice your sweet potato in half lengthways, then cut into roughly 3cm chunks. Core and deseed the pepper and cut into similar sized pieces, then peel and half the red onion and cut each half into 6 chunks.
Toss all the chopped veg together with the olive oil and spices, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then tip onto a baking tray and transfer to the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes, or until all the veg is tender and starting to brown in places.
While the vegetables are roasting, boil your lentils in a saucepan on the hob, according to packet instructions. I use puy lentils, which are fairly quick cooking and take about 20 minutes, but make sure to check your packet cooking time as different types may take longer.
Once they’re just tender, drain, rinse and set aside.
Chop your cherry tomatoes in half, then roughly chop the parsley or coriander. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before tossing together in a dish with the cooked lentils, tomatoes and herbs. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon or lime then taste and season with a little more salt and pepper if necessary.
Now it’s ready to eat! It’s delicious still a little warm but also works great cold, so any leftovers can be packed up into an airtight container and should keep well for a few days. It makes a great filling for wraps for a packed lunch or a good standby a speedy weeknight dinner.