If you need some inspiration for what to make with lentils, pasta and tuna, try these unique and very easy recipes

Preparing all your own meals gets repetitive very quickly. It’s hard to constantly come up with new ideas, and also, making an effort loses it’s appeal after a while.

Here are some creative ways to use the ingredients you already have at home, to make some very simple but flavoursome recipes.

Lentils

Lentils are usually used in soups and curries. But there are more delicious ways to enjoy this versatile protein source.

Use it as a base for poached eggs for a tasty and hearty breakfast, lunch or light supper.

Eggs with lentils and spiced mint

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cauliflower rice or rice
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 200g drained canned lentils
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 130g natural yogurt
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp dukkah (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add cauliflower rice. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Half-fill empty can with water. Pour into pan. Stir to combine then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the onion, mint and sumac in a small bowl.
  3. Stir lentils into hot vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter with spinach. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Make 4 indents in the mixture. Crack an egg into each indent. Cook, covered, for 2-3 minutes or until egg whites are just set.
  5. Divide the lentil mixture and eggs among serving plates. Top with mint mixture and a dollop of yoghurt. Drizzle over extra oil and sprinkle with dukkah, if using.

Pasta

Carbonara, lasagne, and a simple dish of pasta laden with basil and parmesan has no doubt featured on your dinner table throughout the past few weeks. Here’s a novel way to enjoy a decadent creamy pasta dish, without the cream. Serves 6.

Avocado spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 340g spaghetti
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 chopped bunch of scallions
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley, to garnish

Method:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the avocados, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and olive oil until smooth.

3. When the pasta is tender, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the reserved water to the avocado mixture and process until smooth.

4. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, portion the pasta onto plates and garnish with parsley.

Tuna

Canned tuna is a go-to for quick meals, but there are only so many tuna melts and tuna pasta dishes you can go through. Instead, try this unique bake.

Tuna, sweet potato and gruyere melt

Ingredients:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 x 120g tins of tuna in spring water
  • 1 bunch chopped spring onions
  • 100g grated gruyere
  • 750g sweet potatoes, cut into thin slices

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 6. Mix the cream, milk, tuna, onions and most of the cheese.
  2. Layer up the sweet potato and tuna mix then scatter over the rest of the gruyère. Bake for 40-50 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with a green salad.  

There are lots of recipes in the May | June issue of Irish Country Magazine, which is in shops and available for digital download now.