Saturday, 2 May 2020

Pesto, Zucchini and Capsicum Lentils for Brunch

Let me share with you the easiest and healthiest lentil and vegetable meal we enjoyed for brunch yesterday. We are mainly cooking just for ourselves now as are most people. Dinner parties are off the agenda until COVID-19 restrictions are totally lifted but that doesn't mean we aren't still cooking and enjoying our food. I am mainly cooking simpler recipes  based on the ingredients I have in my pantry stockpile unless I really feel like a treat. We are partial to a meat free main meal like this one occasionally, which is still simple, nutritious and tasty. I generally have a tin of lentils in my pantry, which combined with some fresh vegetables and pesto made this a very enjoyable meal. However I would have simply cooked up some dried lentils if necessary instead of using a tin. If you occasionally have a meat free Monday, this dish would be perfect, and with more time permitting I might have grilled some chicken to have with it as well.

We have basil growing though out our garden so I always have some homemade basil pesto in the freezer at home. This is my recipe for the basil pesto I used in this recipe, if you would like to make your own. The quality of the pesto is important for this dish, so the more flavoursome pesto the better. However, there are some  delicious pesto brands available at the supermarkets as well.
This is a very simple, colourful, tasty and economical dish to cook when you are in a rush or if you are multitasking as I was.

Serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 yellow or red capsicum, deseeded and cut into roughly 2 cm chunks
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into 2 cm chunks
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 x 400 g can lentils, any variety, drained
1/2 vegetable stock cube, or 3 tablespoons vegetable stock
2 tablespoons basil pesto, homemade or purchased
20 g Parmesan, finely grated
1 crushed clove garlic (optional)
Fresh basil leaves for garnish and more flavour

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, capsicum and zucchini for 5 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown, stirring regularly

  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened, still stirring constantly

  • Add the drained lentils, crumbled stock cube softened with  2-3 tablespoons water, or ready made stock. Stir in the pesto and season with lots of ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the lentils are hot, stirring constantly
  • Remove fry pan from the heat and sprinkle with cheese to serve.
Only 331 calories per serving. This recipe has been modified from one I found in Michael Mosley's Gut book.

I squeezed in making this Lentil and Capsicum dish yesterday whilst I was  cooking up a double batch of Tropical Stem Ginger in Syrup. Mr. HRK harvested all of our ginger crop last week along with some turmeric. This is an annual event for us as we grow ginger all year round in one of our gardens, along with  turmeric,  and we needed to harvest it all while it was fresh. So 3 buckets of fresh ginger later, we dehydrated enough for 4 bottles of dried ginger, froze some, and cooked up the rest in a delicious syrup. Here is the link to my Tropical Stem Ginger in Syrup recipe if you would like to take a look at it. A couple of small bottles can easily be made from bought ginger by reducing the recipe quantities.

The very aromatic and slightly spicy smell of fresh ginger filled the house as I was cooking this pot of ginger for 2 hours yesterday.

Mr. HRK helped me to fill the jars with the finished product.

Jars waiting to be sterilised.

All done, now I just need to find the right lids to screw on the jars!

Happy cooking,

Warmest wishes,



  1. I would love to taste some of those preserved ginger! The lentil salad looks filling and comforting!

    1. Thanks Angie. You can buy Stem Ginger in syrup from specialist delis here which mostly comes from China these days, but it doesn't have the intnese flavour that the homemade stuff does. Take care, Pauline

  2. Wow Pauline, that is a lot of ginger. I have been slack with planting some here as well as garlic. Must get back into the swing of things. I will make that lentil dish when I get a zucchini. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks Chel. We probably don't need to grow it every year, if the truth be told but it's a good crop to grow through the summer when not much else will grow here.The lentil dish is incredibly simple, but tasty.Stay healthy, Pauline

  3. wow so busy! sounds like good stuff too. the ginger in syrup sounds amazing. this is a healthy dish, with all those good vegetables and lentils.

    1. Thanks Sherry, If I'm in the kitchen I go for it.It is a really nice way to preserve ginger. Take care, Pauline


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