- 1 cup (200g) French-style green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion (150g), chopped coarsely
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 medium carrot (120g), chopped coarsely
- 200 g swiss brown mushrooms, halved
- 400 g grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
- 60 g baby spinach
- fresh thyme leaves, to serve
- polenta topping
- 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (170g) polenta (cornmeal)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (see tips)
- 1Cook lentils in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until just tender; drain.
- 2Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and seeds, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add carrot, mushrooms and tomatoes; cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until carrot softens. Stir in paste; cook for 1 minute. Add stock; bring to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir in lentils and spinach; season. Cover to keep warm.
- 3Make polenta topping.
- 4Preheat grill (broiler) on high. Place lentil mixture in a 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish; spread with polenta topping. Grill for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- 5Season; serve topped with thyme.
- 6Bring stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add polenta and thyme to stock, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until polenta thickens. Stir in oil and yeast flakes; season to taste.
French-style green lentils, related to the famous French lentils du puy, have a nutty, earthy flavour and a hardy nature that allows them to be rapidly cooked without disintegrating. Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.
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