Veggie lunch recipe
This week I was super organised and meal prepped a yummy veggie lunch to take to work. Even better it was a plastic free affair - I used cans, rice and lentils from the refill shop, and veg that I bought without bags. It cost me a lot less than I thought it would, showing that not only is vegetarian cheaper, but that refill and plastic free shopping can be totally affordable.
Find the price breakdown here, and the full recipe below!
In total this recipe cost me about £8!
Black rice: £1.73 (64p/100g)
Lentils: £0.60 (32p/100g)
Coconut milk: £0.75
Tomatoes: £1.85 (but I didn't use them all)
Black rice with lentil dhal and roast butternut
1/2 cup of brown lentils
1 can of coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red pepper (optional)
A handful of cherry or vine tomatoes (optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1 cup black rice
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Chop the butternut. Lightly oil a baking dish and sprinkle in 1 tsp of the cumin seeds. Add the butternut to the dish and sprinkle over 1 tsp of paprika, and some salt and pepper. Put the butternut in the oven and roast for around an hour, or until crispy and caramelised. Keep an eye on it and remove when it's finished.
2. Warm a large pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add the rest of the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and chilli flakes. If the pan gets too hot the mustard seeds will start to pop so be careful! Whilst the pan is warming, finely chop the onion, garlic and red pepper. Chop the tomatoes.
3. Add the onion to the pan and cook till translucent on a medium heat. After a few minutes add the garlic, pepper and tomatoes and cook until fragrant and soft.
4. Add the lentils and other spices to the pan. Stir continuously for a couple of minutes, then add the coconut milk. Turn down the heat and pop the lid on.
5. While the dhal is simmering, boil enough water for your rice (you need twice as much water as rice, so for this recipe use 2 cups). Once the water has boiled add your rice and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat, put the lid on and let the rice simmer for 30 minutes.
6. While the rice is cooking check your dhal, if it looks dry then you can add another can of coconut milk or some water. You don't want it to stick to the bottom of the pan and it should be close to soup texture. Leave it simmering.
7. When all the water has cooked away, taste the rice. It won't be as soft as basmati rice, it has a more chewy and nutty flavour.
8. Check your dhal, at this point I taste it and add any more spices if I think it needs it. The dhal texture should be soft and still wet, if all your liquid has cooked away just add some water and stir it over the heat for a minute or two.
To serve: I left the rice and dhal to cool and then divided it into lunch portions. However, if you're planning on eating it straight away then I love to serve it with roast veg, some sliced avocado and a dollop of yoghurt. Naan bread or chapatis also go really well.
I love prepping lunches for the week ahead, it helps me to cut down on my meat and plastic consumption, and saves me money! I hope you enjoy this little recipe, and that it helps you!