Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lentil and Courgette Gratin

Sadly I can't make this dish these days. Like many (most?) people living in a small flat in Japan, I don't have an oven. My cooking is done on 2 gas rings and in a microwave. But this dish was a favourite of mine in the UK. The recipe originally came from Sainsbury’s Healthy Eating Cookbooks: Beans, Nuts & Lentils by the vegetarian food writer Sarah Brown, and I found a copy of the recipe at - see for pictures and other nice recipes.

It's a very healthy recipe: it's high in fibre and low in fat, as the crispy base is not made from pastry but a combination of red lentils and oats.

Nutrition Data (per portion)
Calories 315
Protein 21g
Fat 11g
Carbohydrate 37g
Dietary Fibre 8g

Ingredients (serves 4)
125g/4ozs red lentils
15ml/1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
50g/2ozs oat flakes
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
10ml/2tsp chopped mixed herbs (sage/thyme/marjoram)
250g/8ozs courgettes, diced
2 eggs, beaten
15ml/1tbsp wholemeal flour
50ml/2fl ozs skimmed milk
salt & pepper
50g/2ozs Cheddar Cheese


1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/375oF/190oC.
2. Cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fairly soft. Beat well with a spoon, then drain excess liquid if any remains.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and mix in the cooked lentils, tomato purée, oats, lemon juice and herbs. Season well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold together. If the lentils are a little wet, return the pan to the heat to dry them out before adding or add a few more oat flakes.
5. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of an 20cm/8″ flan dish. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon.  Pre-bake for 20 minutes until the crust has dried out.
6. For the filling, lightly steam the courgettes for 1 minute.
7. Blend the eggs with the flour, then add the milk. Stir in the cooked courgettes and season well.
8. Spoon the filling into the flan case. Cover with grated cheese.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set.
10. Serve hot with jacket potatoes and salad.

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