About this recipe:Not only are low-fat lentils richer in protein than most other pulses, but their slightly smoky flavour makes a great base for this tasty nut roast, packed with colourful vegetables and served with a quick tomato sauce.
200g red split lentils
450ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
100g unsalted cashew nuts
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
QUICK TOMATO SAUCE
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ tsp paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
150ml dry red wine or vegetable stock
¼ tsp dried mixed herbs
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Method Prep:40min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr40min
Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water. Drain, then tip into a saucepan. Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and pulpy and the stock has been absorbed. Stir once or twice towards the end of to prevent the lentils sticking. Discard the bay leaf.
While the lentils are cooking, put the cashew nuts in a non-stick frying pan and toast over a moderate heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Line the bottom of a 1.4 litre loaf tin with a piece of greaseproof paper.
Add the oil to the frying pan and cook the onion over a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Remove half the onion and set aside for the sauce. Add the leeks, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
Tip the lentils and vegetables into a mixing bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, cashew nuts and 2 tbsp of the parsley, followed by the grated cheese and beaten egg. Season to taste, then spoon into the loaf tin. Level the top and cover with a piece of lightly oiled foil.
Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and set in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cutting into thick slices.
While the loaf is baking and resting, make the tomato sauce. Put the reserved onion and remaining sauce ingredients in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until slightly reduced. Stir in the remaining chopped parsley before serving with the loaf.
If you don't have a loaf tin in this size, use an alternative tin with a similar capacity. The mixture should come to a depth of 4–5cm. * The mixture should be warm, not steaming hot when adding the egg. If necessary allow it to cool for a few minutes.
I've made this several times, my vegetarian sister and mum love it. Its perfect for roast dinner and yes freezes well. Going to make it again tomorrow, the best nut loaf I've ever had in 30+ years of vegetarianism - 30 May 2011