Roasted Vegetable, Walnut and Lentil Ragu

This makes a wonderfully a filling meal served with brown rice and a green salad. The lentils are a great source of fibre and vegetarian protein, as well as B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and zinc while the vegetables and walnuts also add an array of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.


You can vary the vegetables you include and also add some dried, wild mushrooms for a more intense flavour. If using dried mushrooms, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes, then rinse and drain before chopping and adding them to the lentil mixture with the sundried tomatoes.


Ingredients (serves 6)


500g raw chopped vegetables to roast (aubergine, butternut squash and mushrooms work well, but you can use any veg for this)

200g baby tomatoes

50g walnut halves

Olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

6 garlic cloves

A medium onion, a stick of celery and a carrot, finely chopped

2 handfuls of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

150g puy lentils (pre-soaked for 30 minutes and drained)

4-5 sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped

600 ml stock

1 tbsp of tomato paste

Salt and pepper

Parsley, fresh and chopped

Grated parmesan to serve -optional


Method


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6


Begin by soaking the lentils in cold water.


Chop the vegetables into 1-2 cm chunks and put into a roasting tin. Don’t add the tomatoes initially (or mushrooms if using). Add 6 cloves of crushed or finely chopped garlic, half of the chopped rosemary, and pour over 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, give it all a good stir, then put in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.


Add the walnuts, tomatoes and mushrooms (if using), stir again, then return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender and slightly browned at the edges. If necessary, give them another 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and remaining rosemary. Soften gently for 5 minutes over a medium heat, then add the drained lentils and sundried tomatoes, and allow the flavours to infuse for a couple of minutes before adding the stock and tomato paste. Simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a sauce like consistency.


Add the roasted vegetables, tomatoes and walnuts with all the juices in the roasting tin and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the lentils are cooked but still retain their shape and a slight bite.


Serve topped with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.