The Ultimate Winter Lentil & Roast Veg Bake
The perfect centre piece for your festive lunch – a layer of green lentils, caramelised onions and then a delicious roast veg mash as a topping. Delicious indeed.
Can you believe Christmas is nearly here?
Seriously, it honestly feels like it was only yesterday I was carving pumpkins and eating sweets for dinner. I blinked, and it’s all festive all the time–but I don’t mind, I absolutely adore Christmas.
We always spend Christmas in Spain–I love the crisp mountain air, the bright blue days and the freezing chilly nights that are just begging to be finished with a warming lightly spiced hot cocoa sitting in front of an open fire.
Every Christmas Day we head to our friend’s house to spend the festivities with them, and we all bring a dish with us. I always end up making a big lentil bake but I’ve never actually written the recipe down before–it’s always just mixed and matched on the day, which makes it extra special as it’s never the same as last years.
But I think, this year, I absolutely nailed it, in making the Ultimate Winter Lentil and Roast Vegetable Bake so I had to write the recipe down. Plus, so many of you saw this on my Social Media and asked for the recipe–so, here, my little Christmas present to all of you–my delicious luxury Christmas vegan main, that everyone will enjoy!
I’m writing this a little early–one, so you can all shop and prepare ready for the big day but two, because this year we are heading to a retreat in Kerala, India over the holidays–so lots of delicious, spiced Indian dishes and even more yoga for me.
I honestly can’t wait. I’ve travelled India a lot in my 20s and it has such a special place in my heart, just like this dish has–which is why you are all here, I’ll stop my day dreaming and tell you more about this mouth-watering feast which I serve with steamed broccoli and sautéed vegetables and the ultimate vegan stuffing.
I made the base of this dish with lots of fresh vegetables that have been roasted to perfection. Something just magical happens when you roast vegetables. Their exterior goes sweet, crisp and charred and they become almost custard-like on the inside, making them the perfect acquaintance and component to the rich earthy lentils and crunchy walnut topping.
I served this dish in one pan–making it the perfect hearty, healthy winter food that everyone can share around the table and get stuck into family style. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Sharing delicious food with the ones you love.
Use your favourite winter vegetables in this dish. You can add in carrots and parsnips for an extra layer of deliciousness or remove the sweet potatoes for normal should you wish.
The caramelised onions can be made or store-brought to save time and you can add blitzed breadcrumbs to the walnut topping for extra crunch. Alternatively, you can use sunflower seeds if you don’t want to use nuts.
Green lentils can be used instead of red or pearl barely can be subbed–it will reduce the earthy, rich taste but will still be super delicious. The mushrooms can also be removed, but I would recommend keeping them in as it really completes the texture and flavour of the dish–but then mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients, so maybe I’m a little biased here.
As this dish has quite a few elements and takes a while to prepare, you can make this dish the night before the big event. The flavours improve overnight as they soak into all the wonderful vegetables.
Feel free to cook all the night before and assemble and bake on the day, or bake the day before and re-heat. Both work just and each other. Unlike most of my dishes, this one doesn’t freeze that well. But portioned in the fridge and re-heated the next day amazes, especially when topped with a fresh cranberry sauce and a little splash of leftover gravy!
If you like this recipe, why not give one of my other tray-bakes a go?
My variant on a Winter Layered Smokey Lentil and Squash Bake has a gooey ‘cheesy’ sauce that is perfect for cosy Sunday Lunches and my Roast Pepper, Tomato and Caramelised Onion White Bean Bake uses up all my favourite ingredients and is finished with a deliciously creamy and flavoursome spiced coconut milk sauce for the ultimate comfort dish.
I hope you have the most magical Christmas–eat lots, spend time with your friends and family and just relax, rest and renew. I’ll be off eating lots of curries!
The Ultimate Winter Lentil & Roast Veg Bake
For the roast veg topping
- 1/2 large cauliflower chopped into florets
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut yogurt or plant-based yogurt
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Dion mustard
- Black pepper
For the caramelised onions
- 3 onions roughly chopped into slices
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch sea salt
For the filling ingredients
- 2 large onions chopped roughly
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 300 g dark green or Puy lentils rinsed
- 1.5 L water
- 1 tbsp bouillon stock
- 250 g mushrooms chopped
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp tamari
- Twist black pepper
For the toppings
- Handful walnuts
- Drizzle olive oil
To make the veg topping
- Heat your oven to 180c
- Add the veg to one large or two baking trays. Toss with olive oil and season well. Bake the veg 35-40 minutes until cooked.
- Allow to cool a little, then add to a large bowl. Mash the veg roughly with a fork or masher, then add the other ingredients. Mash into the veg. Set aside.
To caramelise the onions
- Add the onion to a large pan with the olive oil and sauté for 20 minutes on a low heat until soft and caramelised. Set aside.
To make the filling
- Add the oil to a large pan and heat to a low to medium heat. Add the onion and for approx 8-10 minutes until soft and browning. Add in the garlic and stir for another few minutes, then add in the lentils, water, and bouillon.
- Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, then down the heat to low, add the mushrooms and simmer for 30 minutes. Add a little more water if needed.
- Stir in all the remaining ingredients.
To compile the bake
- Add the lentils to a large casserole tray, spread over the base.
- Then spread the caramelised onions over the lentils.
- Top with the mashed veg, spreading out to cover everything.
- Sprinkle with the walnuts (brake up a little) and a drizzle of olive oil
- Bake for 20 minutes on 180c.
- Remove from the oven to cool a little.