Rice and lentils with tahini roasted root veg (Nassima Rothacker/PA)
25 January 2023

Annie Rigg’s rice and lentils with tahini roasted root veg

25 January 2023

“Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients here: many of them are store cupboard items,” says food writer Annie Rigg.

“This recipe is inspired by, and borrows elements from, two staple dishes in which rice is cooked with lentils and caramelised onions – Egyptian koshari and Middle Eastern mujaddara” – and it’s served with piquante chermoula dressing.

Feel free to switch up the fruit, she adds: “Pomegranate seeds are often used to lend a note of tart sweetness to savoury rice, but you could replace them with a tablespoon of sour barberries or dried cranberries if you prefer.”

Rice and lentils with tahini roasted root veg recipe

Ingredients:(Serves 6)

2 onions, thinly sliced4–5tbsp olive oilA good pinch of saffron stamens100g Puy lentils5 medium parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthways5 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways5 medium beetroots, trimmed and quartered (no need to peel)2tsp cumin seeds2tsp coriander seeds1tsp Aleppo chilli flakes½tsp garlic granules2 garlic cloves, crushed300g brown basmati rice, rinsed200g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed500ml vegetable stock1 bay leaf1 cinnamon stick2tbsp tahini2tbsp maple syrupSeeds of ½ pomegranateLeaves from a small bunch of corianderSalt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cermoula dressing:1tsp cumin seeds½tsp coriander seeds1 fat garlic clove, roughly chopped1 mild green chilli (such as fresh jalapeño), sliced2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced25g flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks, very roughly chopped25g coriander, leaves and stalks, very roughly choppedJuice of ½ lemon½tsp ground sumac½tsp cayenne pepper6tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Start by cooking the rice. Tip the onions into a heavy, lidded saucepan, add two tablespoons of olive oil and cook slowly over a low–medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until very soft and starting to caramelize at the edges. Soak the saffron in two tablespoons of freshly boiled water in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6 and line one large or two smaller baking trays with baking paper.

2. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and cook in a pan of boiling water for about 20 minutes until just tender but still with a little ‘bite’. Drain and set aside.

3. Combine the prepared root veg in a large bowl. Lightly crush the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and Aleppo chilli flakes using a pestle and mortar. Add to the veggies with the garlic granules and two to three tablespoons of olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well to thoroughly coat the vegetables in spices.

4. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking tray(s) and roast for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through, until tender and browning at the edges.

5. Meanwhile, add the crushed garlic to the onions and cook for a further minute. Add the rice to the pan, along with the drained lentils and chickpeas. Pour the veg stock and saffron, with its soaking water, into the pan, add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Cook for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave covered until ready to serve.

6. To prepare the chermoula dressing, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for one minute until starting to brown and smell aromatic. Tip into a small food processor, along with all the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whizz until nearly smooth.

7. In a small bowl mix together the tahini and maple syrup, spoon over the roasted veggies, mix to coat and return to the oven for a further five minutes until golden and sticky.

8. Spoon the rice onto a large platter, remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and arrange the roasted veggies on top. Scatter with pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves and serve with the chermoula dressing for drizzling.

Eat More Vegan by Annie Rigg is published by Pavilion Books, priced £16.99. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. Available now.

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