This is an absolutely delicious one-pot recipe that has become a big favourite at my house and in everyone else we know who has tried it. See the ingredients list for our suggested variations. It can be thinned down to make a soup or reduced to make a thicker stew. And we've also added a catering version of this recipe as it lends itself to mighty quantities!
It is adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Every Day book - his eco and health call to arms for a more plant-based diet. Please note, his book is not vegan - unlike Viva! he still believes we have the right to eat animal products, albeit free range/organic - and the book uses a fair amount of eggs and dairy, sadly. Nonetheless, a big proportion of the recipes are either inherently vegan or can easily be veganised using alternative products. As the author himself states in the foreword 'vegans will know what to do'! I know from personal experience that a lot of people who would have shied away from a 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' labelled cookbook have embraced this book because they like his ethos and use it a lot. So it's made a big impression in such quarters. We all get on the bus in different places, after all!
Please note, Viva! no longer purchases non-vegan books to sell - we are selling off vegetarian books such as this and will be replacing them with a wealth of titles based on the vibrant world of new vegan cuisine.
2 tbsp oil, preferably olive. Or use oil spray if low-fat option desired 2 large onions diced, any colour 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped 1 celery stalk, finely diced 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp turmeric powder ½ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger 100g red lentils 1 tin chickpeas or butterbeans, drained (keep the liquid – aquafaba – for baking or other vegan ‘eggy’ dishes) 8 strands of saffron 500ml passata (alternatively, blend a tin of tomatoes) Large handful of parsley, any type, chopped Large bunch of coriander, chopped 300g squash, butternut or another type. Pumpkin works too as do sweet potatoes 1.2L strong vegan stock 1 bay leaf 50g orzo pasta or other tiny pasta OR a gluten-free equivalent. Alternatively, use white rice as a GF equivalent
200g frozen peas – these add colour, taste and extra protein etc
We also like chopped peppers or carrots
Vegan yogurt, eg Sojade, Tesco or any other non-sweet type
Flatbread or bulghur or couscous. GF options: brown rice or quinoa or millet
1. Heat the oil in a medium-large pan. Sauté the onions until just starting to turn golden.
2. Reduce the heat and add all the spices (EXCEPT the saffron) plus the celery and garlic. Cook gently for another two minutes or so.
3. Add the lentils, chickpeas or butterbeans, the saffron, passata, parsley and half the coriander plus the stock. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Peel and deseed the squash or pumpkin and cut into large cubes. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Add the pasta or rice and simmer until cooked. Add more stock/water if it needs it.
5. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with the rest of the chopped coriander.