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Vegetarian Main Courses - Winter Vegetable Hot-Pot

Updated on February 2, 2012
Imogen French profile image

Imogen is from West Dorset, in the UK. She works in publishing and writes mainly about the environment, gardening, and vegetarian food.



  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ lb mushrooms
  • any other vegetables if available*
  • ½ pint vegetable stock
  • 1 large tin (8 oz) chopped tomatoes**
  • 1 tin (8 oz) green lentils, drained**
  • mixed herbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb potatoes
  • grated cheese (can be omitted for a vegan dish)


In a large non-stick pan shallow fry the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and lightly browned. Add the finely chopped carrots, mushrooms and celery and cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally until all vegetables are soft.

Add the vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, green lentils, herbs and seasoning to taste and cook on a gentle heat for a further 20 minutes. Once cooked, the consistency of this mixture should be fairly thick, as it needs to be firm enough to support the cooked potatoes without them sinking. If you think it is still too runny you could cook it in the pan for a bit longer to evaporate some of the liquid, add a little flour to thicken, or simply pour a bit off.

While the vegetables are cooking, peel and slice the potatoes into approximately ½ cm thick slices, and boil for about 5-10 mins, until they are just cooked, and still firm. Drain, and leave to cool for a little while before assembling the dish.

Pour the vegetable mixture into a large casserole dish. Layer the cooked potatoes over the surface of the sauce, sprinkling the grated cheese in between and on top. If you choose to leave out the cheese for a vegan dish, put a few blobs of vegetable margarine over the potatoes to help them brown off. Bake in a medium to hot oven for half an hour. The cheese and potato topping should be golden brown and crispy when done, with the rich sauce bubbling up around the edges.

This hotpot is a nutritious and warming dinner on a cold winter's day, and is great served with some seasonal greens on the side, such as cabbage, kale or brussels sprouts.


* You could add any other vegetables that you need to use up – cabbage, swede, peppers, peas, canned sweetcorn and beans are all good additions to this dish if available.

** I use tins here to make it quicker, as the vegetable preparation is quite time consuming for this dish. If you have the time, however, the equivalent weight of prepared tomatoes, and soaked and cooked green lentils will do just as well. I usually have home-grown, ready prepared and preserved tomatoes, that I use in place of tins.

Preparation and cooking time: about 1½ hours in total. Serves 4.


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    • LadyLyell profile image

      LadyLyell 5 years ago from George, South Africa

      As in your potato-bake recipe I notice you put the cheese in layers. This is interesting!

      I will prepare this dish as per your instructions, thanks.

      My husband and I are moving away from red meat and I have prepared chicken recipes all too often.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England

      thank you for your lovely comment, cloudexplorer. I hope you enjoy your new-found love of healthy eating, and enjoy this recipe if you try it.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      Loving this recipe, actually I just started learning a great deal about many of these health food alternatives we have, my wife helped me out of the harmful food eating diets. Now I'm more into veggies in a huge way, and discovered about blood ph recently as well in regards to alkalinity, so I will be using your recipes for sure.

      Thanks for sharing such a nicely well written hub, its informative and layout out so clearly, I will bookmark it as well to share with others soon, nice job!

      Voted up, also thanks for the follow, and kind words you wrote for me there, its tough to be a good writer, but I'm trying my best to be more effective each, and every day I can edit it all. I'll be reading much more form you indeed as well.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks Ruchira and Sonia, hope you both enjoy it. I might make it today myself, as it's snowing here at the moment (brrr!).

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      I have bookmarked it. gonna use it for these cold wintery days...thanks imogenfrench!

    • Sonia Perozzi profile image

      Sonia Perozzi 5 years ago from California

      This dish sounds delicious. I am definitely going to give it a try thanks!