In A Modern Way to Cook, Anna Jones’ vegetarian recipes are time savers for quick, yet satisfying weeknight dinners.
This is a dinner I ate one January day when staying with my sister in Silver Lake. L.A. is never cold, but it can get cold enough to make you crave something substantial, and this is filling and hearty even if you don’t have to crawl under a blanket on the sofa. It’s perfect for cooler nights, when the winter cravings for bowls of mashed potatoes and peas have passed.
I try to get my hands on smaller sweet potatoes—they are somehow sweeter and bake whole quicker—but if you can’t get them, big ones cut into quarters will do just fine.
I use interesting smaller squashes here, like the vivid reddish-orange red kuri, the deep green and aptly shaped acorn, and the frilly-when-cut delicata, which all work well, but a standard butternut will do the trick too.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (convection 400°F). Fill and boil a kettle of water and get all your ingredients together.
- Rub the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until soft.
- Cut the squash into ½-inch slices and break the cauliflower into small florets. Place them both on another baking tray with a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, toss to coat, and roast for about 40 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Put them into a pan with the unpeeled garlic, whole tomato, and bay leaf. Just cover with vegetable stock, place over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and let them simmer away for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and the water has evaporated. If they are looking too dry, top up with a little boiling water as needed.
- Once the lentils are cooked, take the garlic and tomato out of the pan. Pop the garlic cloves out of their skins, mash with the tomato and a couple of spoonfuls of the lentils, then stir back into the pan with a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil. The lentils should become nice and creamy.
- When there is 10 minutes’ cooking time left on the squash and sweet potatoes, put the grapes on a baking tray, breaking them up a little. Scatter over the sage and thyme leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 5 to 10 minutes, until the grapes are sweet and sticky.
- Once the grapes are cooked, take them out of the oven and pour the liquid from the tray into a bowl. Add a good glug of olive oil, the lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Tumble all the vegetables and the grapes onto a platter and dress with the grape dressing, put the lentils into a big bowl, and serve both in the middle of the table.
Reprinted with permission from A Modern Way to Cook, copyright 2016 Anna Jones. Published by Ten Speed Press, and imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.