On the tube the other day I heard an American girl talking to her friend.

“Oh my god, you should have seen him when I first arrived here. He would eat half of something and then put the rest in the fridge right in the dish, no tub or anything. I was like… what are you doing? Can you see yourself?!”

Ummm. I put stuff in the fridge in the dish all the time… I didn’t realise this was not normal? Why dirty a plastic tub when your food is already neatly in a dish that fits it perfectly?

I definitely did that with this. Luckily my boyfriend doesn’t like lentils or aubergine, so I got the leftovers too. Honestly though I don’t care if I put dishes in the fridge, I’m just proud I didn’t polish this whole thing off in one sitting. It was tasty. Adding the lentils to the rice keeps it moist and adds tonnes of flavour, along with a lot of protein.

This recipe was born because I was craving some of my easy cheesy lentil bake, but I can never bring myself to make the same thing twice so I thought I’d mix it up a bit. This version has more veg and no cheese, which sounds like it shouldn’t be as good… but it was. I can see you raising an eyebrow at me, but it really was. And it’s vegan too, hurrah!

In fact when I was eating the leftovers the next day my boyfriend eyed it suspiciously and then said “that actually looks really nice…” – so I think I’m onto a winner.

Pinit


Rice and lentil bake with aubergine and tomatoes

Serves 2-3

100g white rice
75g red lentils
1 veggie stock cube
120g spinach
1tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp ground coriander
1tsp paprika
1/2 medium aubergine, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced

Place the rice and lentils in a pan, and add enough water to comfortably cover. Crumble in the vegetable stock cube and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until they are almost fully cooked. You may need to add a dash more water if the mixture begins to dry out. For the last few minutes of cooking, turn the heat up and cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture is very moist, but with no excess liquid. Add the spinach to the hot rice, and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, heat 1tbsp oil in a frying pan and, over a medium heat, cook off the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the spices and, stirring constantly, cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add this mixture to the rice.

Lay the slices of aubergine in a single layer in the same frying pan (you may need to add a dash more oil). Cook over a medium-low heat for a few minutes each side.

Lay half of the aubergine slices in the bottom of a lightly greased baking dish, and top with the rice mixture. Add the remaining aubergine and the sliced tomatoes, and bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for 45 minutes.