This makes a good sized portion for an otherwise traditionally British family roast and is equally tasty cold the next day if any slices are left over. Pesto enhances so many dishes, not just pasta or the ubiquitous panini; as it is both moist and flavourful, a jar of this time-honoured Italian sauce in the cupboard helps to stretch the pennies, because it also keeps well in the fridge once it has been opened.
4 heaped tsp vegan pesto
250g split red lentils
1 red onion, chopped and fried until translucent (drain well)
85 – 115g breadcrumbs
115g vegan mature cheddar, grated
2 heaped tbs nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves crushed with 1 tsp sea salt
340g runner (or similar) beans
2 large courgettes
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and thoroughly grease a large loaf tin or a ring tin if you have one. If you are using a nonstick metal pan, it is still prudent to line the bottom of the pan with greaseproof paper as the loaf can stick in the corners, however carefully you grease them.
- Wash the lentils, cover them with water, leaving about 2 cm to spare at the top, then bring to the boil, and turn down to a more gentle boil, but not a simmer. They will have softened in about 15-20 minutes, but check after 15. Do keep checking your lentils by stroking the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon; if they look at all in danger of boiling dry or you find some stuck lentils, top up with water just boiled from the kettle.
- When the lentils are soft, drain them and mix with pesto, vegan cheddar, garlic and salt into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs gradually until you have a soft but firm mixture. It shouldn’t feel too “solid”. Pack this mixture into your prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until the loaf is firm.
- After about 15 minutes into the cooking time, put a pan of water on to boil. Once boiled, cook the runner beans very gently until tender – probably 15 minutes at most.
- Slice the courgettes, then water fry them in a nonstick pan. This should take about 10 minutes, so start them about 5 minutes after you have started the beans.
- After you have turned out the roast, tumble the green beans in the middle (or alongside), then finely grate lemon zest over them. While still hot, squeeze out one half of the lemon (serve the other half with some water at dinner).
- Arrange the courgette slices around the edge.
If you have to buy the nutritional yeast, this will cost around £13.68. Nutrional yeast tends to cost around £2.95, but you could add more cheese instead if you wanted. Additionally, I did include the purchase of a loaf of bread, but if you have bread in the house, it will save you more. That said, this does make a good sized roast and there will be enough for the following day.