Extracted from Eat Well for Less: Happy & Healthy by Jo Scarratt-Jones (BBC Books, £14.99) | Photography by Andrew Burton

Topped with quick-pickled red onion, this is a flavour-packed pilau full of vegetables, with the lentils providing both protein and another of your 5-a-day. Great as a main course or an accompaniment to a simple piece of fish or chicken.


Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cauliflower, coarsely grated
  • 2 peppers (any colour), deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium courgette, coarsely grated
  • 1 reduced-salt vegetable stock cube
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 160g frozen or drained tinned sweetcorn in water
  • 2 x 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Tip the sliced red onion into a large, clean jam jar and pour the lemon juice over the onion. Seal with the lid and give it a gentle shake – the onion should wilt slightly and be totally covered with the lemon juice. Set aside to pickle.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan until hot. Add the oil and chopped onion and cook over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and garam masala and cook for 1 minute before stirring in the grated cauliflower. Add the peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the grated carrots and courgette.

Crumble the stock cube into the pan, then add 500ml water and the bay leaves. Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4–5 minutes until the cauliflower and peppers are just tender.

Stir in the sweetcorn and lentils and cook for another 2–3 minutes until hot through.

Season with the salt and plenty of black pepper and stir in three-quarters of the parsley.

Divide between serving plates, top with a dollop of yoghurt, the pickled red onions and remaining parsley, and serve.

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