Layered Vegetable Bake

January 7, 2014

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I hope everyone had a wonderful festive season and enjoyed a lot of delicious food with your loved ones! For those of you like myself who may have overindulged a little too much (see here), I am excited to introduce the first of several healthy recipes this month here on The Chic Brûlée. I refuse to sacrifice on taste, so all of my healthy recipes are not only low in calories and carbs, but delicious in their own right as well.

I recently picked up a copy of Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson, a cookbook that follows the trendy alkaline diet, beloved by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow (just sayin’). The diet discourages ‘very acid forming’ foods like starchy grains and vegetables (pasta, wheat, beans, etc.) as well as all dairy products, meat, and fish, because, in their opinion, these foods are bad for you. It also promises many health benefits and aims to reduce the amount of internal stress on the body. Although I am NOT following the diet in its entirety, I was excited to try out a few recipes in the book and add them to my healthy eating repertoire.

Last night I made a divine Layered Vegetable Bake. A sort of “lasagna,” minus the pasta of course, it consists of layers of courgettes (zucchini) and butternut squash alternating with a tasty “sauce” of lentils, tomatoes and beetroot, all topped with a punchy parsley oil. It came out full of flavor and so hearty it hardly felt like a “diet” food. I made a few changes to the recipe, particularly increasing the amount of sauce, since I didn’t want it to dry out too much. It makes for a very tasty weeknight meal. Check out my take on the dish below. Enjoy and a very Happy New Year! xx

Layered Vegetable Bake

Recipe adapted from Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett

Ingredients
80g (3oz/scant ½ cup) Puy lentils
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 garlic clove, diced
2 beetroots (beets), cut into small dice
2 tsp tamari
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
Generous pinch of ground cumin
2 tbsp water
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and thinly sliced lengthways
2 medium courgettes (zucchini), thinly sliced lengthways

Parsley Oil
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of ground cumin

Directions
Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.

First, make your parsley oil by combining the parsley oil ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the lentils in a small pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10–15 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.

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Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and squash the tomatoes into the oil to make a base for the sauce.

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Add the garlic and beetroot (beet) with the tamari, chives and a pinch of cumin. Add the water and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.

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Add the lentils to the pan with a splash more water and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

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Layer half the butternut squash and a third of the courgettes (zucchini) in an ovenproof dish and spread over half the lentil sauce.

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Repeat the layers, finishing with the remaining courgettes (zucchini).

Brush the courgettes (zucchini) generously with your parsley oil, then bake for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.

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Enjoy!

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