Food

Big Issue Recipe Collection: Delicious lentil stew will warm you up and costs just a few pounds

This reader's recipe is cheap to prepare and a comforting winter warner

Image: Nina Firsova / Alamy Stock Photo

Rosy Hunt in Norwich sent us her recipe for this lentil dish, which is packed with healthy vegetables and uses a little Marmite for added depth of flavour. Lentils are a really good source of protein, yet are cheap to buy and particularly easy to prepare if you opt for tinned.

Rosy told us: “This is a good budget recipe and is great with mashed potato. It can easily be made vegan without using dairy in the mash.” She also had this top tip for fussy palates: “Hide under a layer of mash if kids are wary of trying lentils.”

Ingredients 

1 onion
1-2 sticks of celery
1 carrot
2 tbsps of cooking oil (olive if you like but vegetable or sunflower are fine too)
1 tin of cooked lentils
1 tsp vegetable stock
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Pack of mushrooms
1 tsp of Marmite
Salt and pepper to taste
Bag of potatoes for mash with a splash of milk and knob of butter (use vegan versions if you like).

COST The whole meal should cost about £6, more if you’re buying Marmite especially, but you can just leave it out.

1. Slice the onion thinly and fry with the celery and carrot for 10 mins on medium in a tablespoon of cooking oil.

2. Add the lentils for a couple of minutes stirring (if you have a bottle open, you could add a glug of red wine now and let  it burn off, stirring for a couple  of minutes)

3. Stir in a teaspoon of vegetable stock to about 250ml of boiling water in a jug/bowl and add.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes. Leave to simmer while you do the next bit.

5. Fry the mushrooms in a separate pan in the remaining oil and when they’ve shrunk and gone dark, about five mins, add to the lentil mix.

6. Add Marmite if using – you may want pepper and salt – though try it first as vegetable stock is salty.

7. Leave for a few mins to simmer, turning it up to bubble while you stir, if it’s too wet. Serve with mashed potatoes.

TIP: You can add any veg you need to use up, such as spinach (see image). It’s nice served with roasted cabbage. (To roast cabbage, just quarter any cabbage, and roast with a bit of oil drizzled over and a pinch of salt on about 180°C for about 20 mins – even the black leaves are tasty.)

You can also use dry lentils (lentils vertes) instead of tinned which are even cheaper. It’s not essential, but some prefer to soak them first. Weigh out 100g dry, and before cooking rinse in cold water. Cook them in a separate pan according to packet instructions.

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