Tag Archives: lentils

Lentil pate

140927-lentil-pate-cover-photo-1000x639Once again I’ve struggled to update lately – I really need to get some kind of routine back in because I’m really missing updating this blog!

Don’t worry though, I’ve still been saving money, keeping grocery costs low and cooking as much as I can from scratch. This month I’ve split my grocery budget into separate amounts for food and toiletries so I can better track what’s going where, but I’ll do a proper round-up at the end of the month and set a target on here for October too.

I’m really looking forward to sharing some new recipes on here. Since I started my new job three months ago, I’ve gotten into a slightly different cooking and meal routine. This is partly because I’ve been exercising a lot more and trying to eat really healthily, and it means I’ve been really experimenting, especially with lunch and breakfast foods. These new recipes aren’t always the cheapest though (I don’t eat soup as much now and given my usual soup recipe was about 12p a portion I can’t get salad anywhere near as cheap!) so my next challenge is to ‘frugalise’ some of these new recipes up a bit more 🙂

Today I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for a vegetarian lentil pate, perfect for an easy lunch with crackers or pitta bread, or even used as a sandwich spread. You could also serve it for a vegetarian starter or (as I did today) as part of a mezze platter for a main course. We had it along with hummous, garlic mayo, pittas, a bulghar wheat salad and roasted veg – SO tasty.

The recipe was kindly shared on the MSE forums by another user a few years ago, though I’ve very slightly adapted it below. It doesn’t look the prettiest but it’s tasty and incredibly cheap – mostly because it has no expensive ingredients in it. However, to get it so cheap I’ve been really embracing buying in bulk lately – the 2kg bag of red lentils for £2 is the one I actually have and I bought a similar 4kg bag of onions from Morrisons a few weeks ago. Even if you don’t want to invest in giant bags of these of these it’ll still be fairly cheap though.

Lentil pate (makes 4-6 lunch portions at 7-11p per portion)

  • 150g red lentils 15p (TRS, £2 for 2kg)
  • 1 pint water, just boiled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 4p (Asda, £2.89 for 1ltr)
  • 2 medium onions, about 250g, finely chopped or grated 11p (£1.67 for 4 kilos)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed 6p (90p for 4 bulbs)
  • 2-3 tbsp dried mixed herbs (you can either use a generic mixed herbs or mix in whichever dried herbs you like – I used some mixed herbs then added extra basil, oregano and thyme) 5p (Smartprice, 25p for 18g)

Add the red lentils and water to a large saucepan, bring to the boil then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and put the lid on the pan. Leave to cook for around 12-15 minutes, checking on it and stirring occasionally: you’ll need to take it off the heat when it starts catching on the bottom, but you want most of the liquid to have gone. Stir well with a wooden spoon to mash slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions gently for several minutes until starting to colour. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute or two. Remove from the heat and add to the lentils, along with the dried herbs.

At this point, you’ll need to season quite well with salt and pepper – lentils can be really bland unless you salt them well, so I used about half a teaspoon here. Leave to cool and serve with crackers, pittas or toast.

Variations – try swapping the mixed herbs for curry powder or other spices. Or use different lentils or beans, though they’ll be a little more expensive. The original recipe also suggested adding a spoonful of vinegar at the end to season, which I think would be la nice touch but I totally forgot about when I made mine.

Prices checked using Asda online delivery service.


Lentil, spinach and mushroom lasagne (vegetarian)

photo (84)

I meant to post this last night but ran out of time due to friends coming round – so here’s a wee morning post for you all instead.

I make lasagne quite a lot, but this is the first time I’ve ever made this particular recipe.  Normally I use roasted vegetables (carrots, peppers and courgette, with spinach stirred in as well) but Mr Chilli had suggested using these green-brown lentils for lasagne after I used them for vegetarian moussaka a few weeks ago.  His argument was that it’d make the lasagne more meaty-seeming and I have to agree with him.

I used to buy dried Puy lentils from the supermarkets but they seem impossible to find now except in pre-cooked packets, so these are the dried lentils you can buy from supermarkets called “lentilles verts” – I think they’re much the same thing anyway, just not grown in the specific region of France that you get Puy lentils from.  I only used one tin of chopped tomatoes, but it was a little dry, so I’d use two from now on.  Likewise, I ran out of white sauce at the end so the quantities in the recipe are increased slightly.

photo (86)

I’d run out of bagged salad (!) so improvised a salad with roasted carrot, courgette and onion on a bed of spinach, dressed with a little oil and balsamic vinegar.

Lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne (serves four)

photo (83)

  • ½ pack lasagne sheets, soaked if needed
  • 20-30g parmesan or similar (can use cheddar instead for a different flavour)

For the tomato layer:

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 small onions or 1 medium one, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 125g green-brown lentils
  • ½ bag spinach, washed if necessary
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (can also add thyme or basil, or substitute for fresh herbs if you have any)
  • 1 glass red wine (optional; add some sugar to taste if you use this)

For the white layer:

  • 20g butter
  • 20g cornflour (I don’t usually weigh these but measure by eye as doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 225-250ml milk (again, just do this by eye)
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

Pop the lentils on to boil (don’t salt the water) in a small saucepan, cooking according to packet directions (I think mine say 25 minutes or so).  Meanwhile, heat a little vegetable oil in a large high-sided frying pan and gently fry the onions for a few minutes.  Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until mostly wilted down.  For the last 30 seconds, add the garlic and mix round.

Add the red wine and sugar, if using, and the chopped tomatoes and oregano.  Allow to simmer away for 20 minutes or so to reduce down.  Season and taste – you might need to add more sugar or salt here.  Once the lentils are cooked, drain and add to the sauce, and then add the spinach and cook until wilted.

As the red layer simmers, make the white layer by melting the butter in a small pan, taking off the heat and mixing in the flour to a smooth paste, and adding the milk and whisking in.  Put back on to a medium heat and cook, whisking well, for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Add the mustard and take off the heat. Preheat the oven to 200C.

lasagne 1

Layer the sauces and lasagne sheets in a baking dish – you might need more or less sheets depending on the size and shape of the dish and how you layer it.  I put half the red sauce in the bottom, follow by a layer of sheets, then a layer of shite sauce, then another layer of sheets, then the rest of the red sauce, then sheets, then the rest of the white sauce.  Top with cheese and oven cook for around 35 minutes.