EASY VEGETARIAN DINNER: ROAST PUMPKIN, LENTIL SALAD, AND BEETROOT AND RED ONION SALAD
Half a pumpkin, two beetroots and a few broccoli stems. That was the extent of our supplies one Monday night.
To be fair, we did have some meat in the fridge, but after a heavy Sunday roast, the whole family felt like a light vegetarian dinner.
With my vegetable box due in the next 48 hours, I didn’t want to shop for extra and actually was keen to see if we could end up with a meal big enough to feed the four of us.
Truth be told, it was quite a fun challenge, reminding me of cooking on the boat. While cruising, it’s always been an exercise to come up with delicious and nutritious meals using whatever is available. I would read recipes of classic dishes and end up dreaming up ways to use the local produce, mixing up flavours and textures. Far from seeing myself as a recipe developer, it was more about making do with what was on hand and experimenting.
Over the years, I have learnt a lot from locals showing me the ropes, reading tons of cookbooks and of course cooking. Drawing on this knowledge, and to this day, I mostly start cooking by focusing on one ingredient and building the meal around it.
So I present you with our latest meatless Monday feast:
Roasted pumpkin with garlic cream sauce
Puy lentils and broccoli stems salad
Warm salad of beetroot and red onions
A typical no-waste kind of meaI, I am pleased to say that there was plenty to eat, thanks to a deep forage into the pantry and the crisper. A little imagination helps too.
Roasted Pumpkin with garlic sauce
800g pumkpin, peeled and cubed
Garlic cream ( store bought ) or try NQN’s recipe
- Preheat oven to 200C
- In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin and enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and roast for 30 min or until tender and lightly charred
- Take out of the oven and rest for 5min
- In the meantime, in a small bow, combine equal quantities of garlic cream and yoghurt
- Transfer warm pumpkin to a serving plate. Drizzle garlic cream sauce and sprinkle with chili flakes to taste.
- Serve warm
Puy Lentils and broccoli stem salad
1 cup puy lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 cups broccoli stems, trimmed and grated ( I use the grater attachment of my food processor, it takes seconds )
A handful of parsley
1tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
- Put lentils, bay leaf and water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 20 min or until lentils are tender.
- In the meantime make the mustard vinaigrette: in a small bowl, wish together all ingredients until the mixture thicken. Put aside.
- Drain the excess water of the lentils, discard the bay leaf and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the grated broccoli stems and mustard vinaigrette. Mix well.
- Sprinkle with parsley, season with salt and pepper
- Serve at room temperature
Beetroot and red onion salad
2 medium beetroots, peeled and quartered
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
1 cup pecan nuts, lightly toasted
A large handful of salad mix
Mint leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Place beetroots and red onion in a large bowl, coat well with oil and transfer to a parchment lined baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 30 min or until vegetables are tender ( onions will be charred on the outside, beetroot should be easily pierced with a skewer )
- Line a large serving plate with a bed of salad mix, cover with the roasted vegetables and dress with mustard vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the toasted pecans and garnish with a handful of mint leaves.
- Serve at room temperature.