Stuck in December madness? Dashing about shopping, finishing off work, maybe a hectic social calendar? At this time of year it is all too easy to opt for the quick fix of a takeaway. That doesn’t do a lot of good for waistlines or wallets, both of which can be strained by the approach of Christmas.

Take a few moments to check that you have the items for this easy winter warmer. This is a protein packed vegetarian dish – meat and fish eaters can ring the changes by adding anchovies or cooked meatballs.


1 medium onion

250g mushrooms

2 large potatoes

2 tins green lentils

Frozen peas

2 garlic cloves

Soy sauce

Balsamic vinegar

Ground cumin


Olive oil


  1. Peel and slice the potatoes. Cover with boiling water, return to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas, return to the boil and simmer for a further five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the onions. Peel and crush the garlic. Slice the mushrooms. Drain the lentils.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes. Throw on a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of paprika and stir fry for a further minute.
  4. Tip this mixture into a casserole dish. Add the lentils, and a tablespoon each of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar (or more if liked). Mix it all up. (Add cooked meat or fish at this point if desired)
  5. Drain the cooked peas and potatoes, then place on top of the lentil mixture; if you are feeling artistic, use a fork to arrange the potato slices. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Place the dish in an oven set to around 200C and cook for 20-25 minutes to brown the potatoes. Just enough time to do the washing up and set the table!

The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.


Michael W.
26 December 2018

Michael W.

This is ideal boxing day style food actually, so I made it today but added leftover turkey and veg too, plus a spoonful of curry paste. Delicious, and a nice contrast to Christmas Dinner.

Amber J.
24 December 2018

Amber J.

I would suggest using aubergines rather than mushrooms if you don't like them. It's got a similar meaty texture.

Mark J.
24 December 2018

Mark J.

happily these recipes generally aren't too exacting about what goes in - it is whatever is handy in the storecupboard or looked reasonable at the supermarket! The one in the photo looks like someone added beetroot but it would probably still work.

Hugh M.
23 December 2018

Hugh M.

This sounds lovely, and it's just a shame none of my family likes mushrooms except me!

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