If you are somewhere with easy access to a kitchen then this is perfect since it can be made well in advance and reheated and tastes even better for it. It is easy to make vegetarian and vegan versions and is packed full of nature's bounty making it cheap, tasty and filling.
Vegetable and Lentil Stew
1 large onion finely diced
3 cloves of garlic crushed (or to taste)
1 tblsp olive oil
2 sticks celery chopped
1 bay leaf/bouquet garni
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried herbs e.g. oregano/basil/marjoram
1 tblsp Marigold Vegetarian Stock Boullion (powder)
Selection of your favourite vegetables: beetroots, carrots, potatoes, swede, sweet potato, butternut squash etc. chopped (I would give quantities here but to be honest I always guess, err on the side of more rather than less because this is great reheated for lunch the next day.)
1 small handful of green or red lentils per person
1 large double handful of spinach roughly chopped
Seasoning to taste
Fry the onions and celery in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and then add the garlic for another minute. Stir to ensure the garlic does not burn.
Add the rest of the vegetables (except the spinach) and fry for another couple of minutes to coat in the oil and cook down a little. Add the stock powder and stir in coating the vegetables. Then add the liquid, start with the two tins of tomatoes and then fill each tin with warm water and add that too (sluicing out the rest of the tasty tomatoes). Finally add the lentils, dried herbs and bay leaf (or bouquet garni) and bring to the boil. Slowly simmer until the lentils and vegetables are tender. You can turn the heat off at this point and just reheat when the ritual is done. Five minutes before you are ready to serve up add the spinach and let the heat of the stew wilt it, finally taste the stew and season to your preference.
This is a very forgiving recipe to cook and you can substitute in your favourite veggies, pulses etc. It is particularly good for using up older vegetables lingering at the bottom of the fridge and is completely vegan. I like to serve this with some Soda Bread as this takes less time to prepare than a homemade loaf. Alternatively just buy a nice crusty loaf from the supermarket and serve with lots of butter (although obviously this get less vegan). Yummy either way!