It seems a little strange to be writing this recipe for Smokey Lentils with Harissa Roast Cauliflower and Aubergine as I’m currently sitting in the last sweltering Summer heat of Spain, but as the mornings are starting to get a little cooler and the nights darker both here in the UK, which, somehow seems almost impossible after the long and unusually hot summer we experienced this year (I’m not complaining at all!) it almost seems therapeutic to write.
I’ve always loved the changing seasons, there is something almost refreshing about it and, of course, naturally my food changes as the seasons do. Does anyone else do this?
Change their diet based on the time of year? As you know I’m all about championing locally grown and organic produce where possible and that means eating with the seasons!
As Autumn starts to rear its head, my food veers towards comforting one-pot wonder dishes and simple winter-warming plates of delicious bowls of goodness. It’s like the world is giving me permission to indulge in huge pots of stews, dahls, curries and soups and my heart (and belly) could not be happier.
This dish is one that always brings a smile to my face as it pops up in my catalogue of recipes each year. I first created these delicious smoky lentils with my friends and fellow bloggers and cookbook authors Sara aka Shiso Delicious and Bettina from Bettina’s Kitchen while we were on a little getaway in the Herefordshire countryside last year.
We cooked delicious dishes, traded food photography secrets and had the most fun sleeping in a proper yurt!! Honestly, so fun – and super cute. This dish was a completely impromptu meal made with the random ingredients we brought with us but sometimes I find that the best meals are created that way – it just means you have to get a little more creative in the kitchen, and it paid off massively.
So much so that I just had to recreate it at home and share it with all of you, as I know you are going to love it as much as I do. I love to make this dish as soon as the leaves start to turn brown, I serve it with a fresh cabbage salad for extra texture and crunch and dollop with coconut yoghurt to balance out the spice from the harissa and add a creamy element.
The base takes a little while and a few ingredients to put together, but once it’s all simmering away nicely, it cooks itself so you can sit back and breathe in all those wonderfully rich and earthy flavours (and pour yourself a nice glass of vino!).
Lentils are actually one of my favourite ingredients as they are low in calories, rich in iron and an excellent source of protein, plus they can bulk out so many different types of dishes making them the ultimate store cupboard essential to stock up on (you can find out more about what store cupboard ingredients I think should be in your kitchen at all time, and what recipes you can create with them, on this blog post here)
You can use split red lentils or whole red lentils for this dish – both are absolutely delicious. The whole red lentils give a coarser texture, and the split ones a creamier one but both work perfectly. Why not try both and experiment to see what one you prefer. You can also use up any leftover veggies you have in your fridge.
Pop in some cauliflower, courgette, aubergine or peppers to really get the most out of this dish and help combat any food waste. If you can’t get hold of harissa paste, you can make your own, or use siracha or an alternative hot sauce.
Alternatively, if you don’t like spiced dishes, feel free to leave out and just season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I absolutely love spicy food after travelling around the Middle East for many years, so I tend to always slather harissa paste onto everything and anything I can!
If you like this recipe, why not give one of my other lentil recipes a try?
My Smokey Puy Lentils, Beetroot Hummus and Quinoa Flatbreads always go down a treat and utilise store cupboard ingredients.
Or why not try a Warm Winter Salad that uses up all your leftover roasted vegetables topped with puy lentils and toasted hazelnuts for the perfect winter warmer dish with a difference.
Or how about a brand-new recipe – Smokey Lentil and Walnut Bolognese with Crispy Roast Potatoesthe perfect combination of rich, comfort and delicious.
I really hope you love this delicious dish as much as I do; make sure to post and tag with @rebelrecipes #rebelrecipes if you make this dish so I can see and repost your gorgeous creations!
Did you know that I have a new cookbook?
It's called Rebel Recipes and I'm so proud of it. If you like my recipes I know you'll love my cookbook - It took me over a year to develop (and years in the making) and it's packed with deliciously vibrant veg packed recipes!
Here's a sneak peak...
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