Thursday, 13 September 2012

Roast pepper stuffed with spinach, feta & puy lentils


La 1 bell pepper, 100g spinach, 10g puy lentils, 50g feta, nutmeg
Serves: 1 preparation: 30 minutes

When I became a vegetarian all those years ago, I needed to seek new protein sources which did not involve soya or mushrooms, both of which I'm horribly allergic to. Puy lentils are packed full of protein and soluble fibre, iron, potassium and zinc. They're low in fat and for the newly pregnant (me! By the way I did a pregnant!), they're high in folic acid too. A definite super food and like spinach, they needn't be boring just because they're virtuous. The stuffed pepper is the healthy alternative to a pie in my opinion. You can fill them with just about anything, and without pastry most fillings are healthy, delicious and super low maintenance to prepare. A pepper is a marvellous thing. I like to pre-roast them before stuffing them and roasting them again until the skin is almost completely blackened and has infused the centre with luscious tangy juices. In this case the tang of the feta, the melting soft spinach and the texture of the lentils makes this a real power-lunch for me, hot or cold!

1) Slice the top from the pepper (do not discard the lid) and scoop out the core and seeds. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes at a high heat.

2) Steam the spinach for 4 minutes, then carefully squeeze out as much as the liquid as possible.

3) If you use dried puy lentils - these will need to be cooked first for about 45 minutes (personally it's one of those ingredients I'm quite happy to buy canned. Merchant Gourmet's are FANTASTIC), to prepare canned - strain away the brine and combine with the spinach along with a little salt, black pepper and freshly grated nutmet.

4) Layer the feta, spinach and puy lentil mix into the pepper, packing it down tightly until it is full to bursting. Replace the lid and return to the oven to roast for a further 10 minutes, then serve!

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