Monday, September 26, 2011

Leek and lentil bake with quinoa crust

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu with greens

Lunch: The burrito bowl from Hot Beans Vegan

Dinner: Leek and lentil bake with quinoa crust and a tomato, carrot and lime salad

I really have gone a little overboard with my dedication to using quinoa in a plethora of different ways. I don't know what it is; it's unconscious. I just reach out for the stuff and before I know it, BANG! A quinoa crust!

Of course, this isn't like many addictions, which end with a negative impact on the addict. I'm just going to end up with a high magnesium level and too much dietary fibre. Oh hang on, that could be bad...

You'll need
(Feeds 4)
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 1/2 onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 leeks, sliced
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp flax
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika

Soak the lentils in a bowl for water for 1 hr
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius
Cook the quinoa with the water for 15-20 minutes; this will leave the quinoa not totally cooked
Set aside to cool
Fry the onions and the garlic in a little oil until translucent
Add in the paprika and fry until fragrant
Add in the zucchini and fry for 5 minutes
Add in the lentils, stock, cumin and oregano
Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes
While this is happening, saute the leeks for 5-7 minutes in a little oil
When the stock has been mostly absorbed and the lentils are mushy, take the lentil mixture off the heat
Spread the lentil mix on the bottom of a casserole dish, and top with a later of leeks
Mix the flax into the cooked quinoa, and layer this mixture on top of the leeks
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, then switch to "broil", or put the dish under the grill until the top of the quinoa has browned
Serve with wedges, a carrot and tomato salad

I could harp on about the nutritional benefits of quinoa until the cows come home, but let's not forget that lentils are a great source of both protein and fibre, which is why they've been a staple of vegetarian cooking for the past 30 years. They're also a great source of iron, and the flax added into the quinoa topping bring some omega-3 fatty acids to the mix.

This is also very hearty and comforting for a chilly autumn evening - especially if you can have some tofu chocolate cake from Fresh afterwards!

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