Monday, February 18, 2013

Meat Free Monday / Hearty Spanish Lentil Dish

My Dad was in hospital recently and it really shook me up, we're very close. While he is fit and healthy, I do wish he would eat less red meat and animal fats. He's more receptive to vegetarian dishes now, because I do cook a lot, I enjoy cooking family meals at least once a week. After the recent scare, I've been cooking some healthy meals for him, and this evening as I made dinner, I realised that I was cooking a meat-free meal, on a Monday, and I thought of the "meat free Monday" movement, promoted by the McCartney family. So in the spirit of things, I hope on every other Monday to post a meat-free dish, to inspire anyone who does stop by, and to give me some motivation, while I convince my family to make Mondays meat free.

While watching daytime telly recently, I flicked over to Rick Stein's Spain, he was about to cook a delicious looking lentil dish, where the meat element could easily be left out. It's a lentil stew I suppose.

I adapted this recipe, on the cheap. I left out the Serrano ham, and the white wine, I don't have pimentón (smoked sweet Spanish paprika) so I used regular paprika.

300g green lentils
6 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped/diced
200g/7oz carrot, finely chopped/diced
1 tbsp paprika (or to taste)
A couple of glugs of tobasco
I tin chopped tomatoes
rock salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Check the lentils for stones, then rinse in cold water. Add to saucepan, adding enough cold water to cover them and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes or until just tender but still a little al dente (or follow packet instructions). Drain, and keep back the cooking liquid, setting to one side.

- In a deep frying pan, heat the oil, adding the garlic and onion, sweating it off for a few minutes, then add the carrot and cook gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to colour.

- Stir in the paprika and tomatoes, and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture cooks down into a thick sauce. I chucked in some tobasco at this point, because I like some heat.

- Stir the lentils into the sauce with 150ml of the lentil cooking liquid, as needed, with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Simmer for a further 5-6 minutes. Serve!

I served this with potatoes fried in olive oil and paprika, 'patatas bravas' style.

You can watch Rick himself whip up this dish via youtube, what a charming man!

Join the movement and tag your tweets/instagram pictures with #meatfreemonday


  1. This looks absolutely delicious! My kitchen is lost without you Zoe!! Looking forward to lots more veggie dishes from you! :)

    1. oh maeve that pasta was a stodgy disappointment! i had such a lovely time and i'd love to cook for you again! i bought some pita bread today to make more pita chips :)

  2. This looks so, so good, and I'll definitely be trying it after my next big shop!