Smokey Vegan Winter Bake

Servings: 10
Cooking Time: around 2 hrs

Ingredients

2 butternut squash, thinly sliced lengthways
1 tbsp Prima Italia Organic 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the lentils:
1 large brown, chopped finely
2 tbsp Prima Italia Organic 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, slivered
1 tsp Just Natural Herbs paprika
175g white mushrooms, chopped finely
2 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp harissa paste
2 sundried tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 tsp tamari
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
150g Just Natural Organic black beluga lentils
750ml water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp Prima Italia Organic 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme

For the Béchamel sauce:
1 tbsp vegan butter of choice
2 tbsp plain flour
250ml Organic Kitchen oat drink
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make it

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the squash on a baking try and coat in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hr, though keep an eye on them as they will finish cooking at different times.
  4. Set aside the squash (keep covered) and begin on the lentils, gently heating the olive oil in a saucepan and adding the onion, stirring them until golden brown and increasingly translucent.
  5. Add the garlic, follow with paprika, and then stir in the fresh tomatoes, the sundried tomatoes, vegan Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, tamari, and the harissa.
  6. Once all the above have softened, add the lentils and water, bringing everything to the boil before letting simmer for 40 minutes.
  7. Only once the lentil mix has simmered for the full length of time, season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat after a minute or two and stir in the extra oil and the fresh thyme.
  8. Meanwhile, prep the Béchamel sauce by gently heating your vegan butter of choice in a small saucepan and stirring in the flour until well combined.
  9. Gradually add the oat drink in small batches, together with the nutritional yeast, stirring constantly so no lumps form – you’re looking for a creamy consistency.
  10. Season as desired and remove from heat.
  11. In a casserole dish, layer the lentils, then squash, then lentils, and top with the Béchamel sauce. Bake for 25 minutes.
  12. Serve hot and imbue your winter-chilled body with this dish’s hearty heat.

NB: this can be popped under the grill after the main baking time if a crispier topping is preferred (circa 10 mins).