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Monday, May 18, 2009

Vegan Red Lentil and Pepper Flan

I had no intent to bamboozle my reluctant vegetarian. He becomes suspicious when I do strange things, so it's always best to warn him. I put the flan on the table. He studied it, rotating his plate from one angle to another to get the best possible view. "It's pretty," says he, "but it sure is red! What's in it?" "Red lentils and bell peppers, nothing exotic," say I. He has a bite. "What's really in it?" We parried a bit longer, but in the end I'm happy to report he ate a hearty portion and actually enjoyed it. I'm not always so lucky with meatless meals. This is a great entree and if you're looking to replace some animal protein with greener alternatives I heartily recommend this vegan flan. You won't be sorry. It's quick and easy to prepare. The recipe was developed in Australia, so there is one ingredient that may confound you. The ingredient list calls for yeast extract. You'll be able to find it in most large grocery stores and health food shops where it's sold as Vegemite or Marmite. There is also a new vegetarian version of Bovril which can be used and may be easier to find. If you're going to go all out, vegan margarine can be found in the dairy case of major grocery chains. Let's start with the pie dough.

Vegan Red Lentil and Pepper Flan

1-3/4 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon vegan margarine, divided use
4 tablespoons ice water
3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1-1/4 cups canned vegetable stock
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seed and cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon yeast extract
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1) About an hour before serving, place flour in a medium bowl. Cut 1/3-cup margarine into small pieces and add to flour. Using fingertips, rub margarine into flour until it resembles cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs. Stir in water and bring together to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2) While the dough chills, place lentils in a small saucepan, cover with vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat: simmer for 10 minutes, or until lentils are soft and can be mashed to a puree. I didn't mash my lentils.
3) Melt remaining 1 tablespoon margarine in a medium frying pan. Add onions and red pepper and saute until just soft, about 6 minutes. Add lentils, yeast extract, tomato paste and parsley. Season to taste with pepper. Gently mix until combined. Set aside.
4) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out on a lightly board. Line a 9-inch loose-bottom tart pan with dough. Prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Spoon lentil mixture into pastry. Bake for 30 minutes, or until filling is very firm. Yield: 6 servings.


the ungourmet said...

This is quite beautiful! I love lentils and I have no doubt this tasted terrific!

Your photo is outstanding as well!

You should teach cooking classes, I would definitely attend!

noble pig said...

Well, I'm glad he did eat wouldn't fly on my dinner table....they want their meat. Ugh. I think it's beautiful.

Selba said...

This is unique and the color looks so pretty :)

Donna-FFW said...

This is a gorgeous dish May.. I agree with the ungourmet, you should teach cooking classes, you have great food, and such a nice way about you.

Hootin' Anni said... looks mighty tasty if you ask me!!!

Barbara said...

Mary, I've been AOL for awhile. I'm thinking about going vegetarian, not vegan yet. This recipe looks great.
BTW, your blue skies are so beautiful!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I love your stories, I can picture someone turning their plate to check out the ingredients. I'd love to try and make this. it owuld be interesting to see how my picy eaters would react.

Mariana said...

Ummm I don't think my hubby would be as brave as yours. Looking like a "quiche" and with "no meat" its definitely not his thing. So I know how you feel. Your flan does sound very original, delish and looks most nutritious. My fork is ready.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I am very familiar with the vegan margarine, will have to look for the Bovril. Our vegan son is a toughie to excite and I'm always on the look out.

Pam said...

It almost looks too pretty to eat...almost. It looks delicious.

The Cooking Photographer said...

You used yeast extract! You're the first American I've known to cook with it. I need to go buy a jar and try this out on the hubby.

Netts Nook said...

Mary I can't wait to share with the vegan's in my family. Perfect.

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Wow, that looks incredible!

Natashya said...

Yummy! I love red lentils and red peppers together.

Smilingsal said...

It's almost too pretty to eat.

Penny said...

Sounds wonderful to me. I haven't been able to find red lentils.

Katy ~ said...

Ole Sweetie-Pi would go and broil a steak, leaving me this flan all to myself. HA! I would be so happy!

girlichef said...

This is so colorful and sounds so delicious...I've never heard of a savory flan, I am very intrigued (I know it's the ring it's baked in, but still...)! I'd love to tell hubby I just made flan and bring him this!!! LOL.

Beverly said...

Thank you for visiting my blog.

This looks delicious. I'll be right over. ;-)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so glad he ate it! I love lentils! They're so good for you.

Martys Fiber Musings said...

Your site is spectacular. I am really drawn in by your pictures...such delicious recipes. Thanks for sharing.

Marie Reed said...

What a deightful recipe! I adore everything made with red peppers so I will surely try this out:)

Bridgett said...

This is really beautiful. I can just imagine how wonderful the flavors were. I wish I could get by with a vegetarian meal at my table. It would fly with me just fine, but I wouldn't be able to convince the carnivores! I may just try anyway.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I'm going to pass this recipe on to my daughter. She has lots of vegan friends and is always trying to delight her friends with her vegan cooking. This looks delicious. Thanks for visiting my blog too!

Barb said...

Thank you for coming by.
I do not bake much, but the vegan choc cake sure does sound good right now.
I have a horrible, (or would it be wonderful?) sweet tooth.

blessings on your week,
barbara jean

Lisa said...

Sounds delicious! I really like lentils and the rest is intriguing. The finished Flan is beautiful!

So that's what Marmite is? I saw it when we were in England and it was in little plastic containers in a basket on the breakfast buffet. The containers were not unlike the kind I found Nutella in at a breakfast buffet in Switzerland, but the proximity to a questionable pan of black pudding put me on guard. :-) I asked around but no one could tell me what it was exactly, or what it tasted like. Is it added here for its flavor or its chemistry?

Mary said...

Lisa, it's added for flavor. Many like these extracts spread on toast. That is way too much for me. My palate has not been trained to like the way they taste. I do, however, have a daughter who spent some time in Australia and she loves it. Go figure!

Culinary Wannabe said...

How interesting! I agree, it's always good to have a nice stack of meatless meals to choose from. Good for you and good for the environment to eat a little less meat.

MondayCampaigns said...

Hi Mary!
This flan looks delicious and I sure do know how hard it is to ‘wow’ the devout omnivores into venturing to the green side! It was an uphill battle with a close friend who wanted to become vegetarian after developing high cholesterol but he’s now completely meatless with cholesterol coming under control.
That’s part of the reason why working at Meatless Monday, a non profit campaign funded by Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health is a wonderful experience!
Meatless Monday is a nonprofit public health initiative of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Meatless Monday’s mission is to lower rates of preventable disease, by encouraging people to go meatless every Monday to reduce their saturated fat intake. Going meatless once a week can also conserve our environmental resources, because meat production leaves such a wide carbon footprint.

Since, like me, you love to cook your food (and eat it too!), you may want to check out some neat ways to ‘bamboozle’ your ‘reluctant vegetarian’ with tasty meatless recipes online at Maybe making Monday meatless with a simple and sumptuous Eggplant Casserole or, with an entree with more pizzazz like the Meatless Stuffed Peppers, will be fun and fruitful!

Mary said...

Monday Campaigns, I've added the site to my blogroll. Thank you for stopping by.

shellyfish said...

What a beautiful photo - and a delicious sounding flan. Has been bookmarked!

Mary said...

Shelly, I'm so glad you found us. I hope you'll come often. The flan is delicious.

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