The Canny Cook: White fish with roasted peppers and lentils recipe

Buying dried lentils is much more cost-effective than ready-cooked pouches. Any firm white fish is good – haddock, cod or hake will work.

Eleanor maidment

This week I have been experimenting with regrowing vegetables and it really is a marvellous trick that I can’t believe I didn’t know of until now. It requires little more than a glass, some water and a sunny spot by a window. So far I’ve had great success with spring onions, romaine lettuce and celery.

Here’s how you do it. Next time you’re chopping any of the above veg, don’t cut further down than about 5cm-6cm from the base. Take a small glass that will snugly hold the trimming and fill it with lukewarm water (you can regrow several spring onion stems in one container, but celery and lettuce should be one head per glass). Place the trimming in the water, root-side down, pop it in a sunny spot and change the water daily. After 5-6 days you’ll see new shoots start to appear which you can trim off and eat as you go. It’s a very clever way of regenerating food that would otherwise go straight in the compost bin. (Just remember that if the water turns cloudy or starts to smell a bit off, it’s probably time to bin the veg and start again.)

I’ll be using this method with carrot and beetroot tops next. You can’t grow the actual root vegetables this way, but when immersed in shallow water the tops will start to sprout leaves which can then be used in summer salads.

White fish with roasted peppers and lentils recipe

White fish with roasted peppers and lentils


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Rinse 100g green/french lentils, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer vigorously for about 15 minutes until tender; drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, trim and finely slice the leek, and halve, deseed and slice the pepper. Toss them with 1 tbsp olive oil, season and spread over a roasting tray. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. Make a dressing by mixing 1 tbsp olive oil, 1⁄2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar, 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp chopped capers.
  4. Stir the drained lentils into the tray with the peppers and leeks. Season 2 skinless, boneless white fish fillets and sit on top, then spoon the dressing all over. Roast for a final 10 minutes or until the fish is completely cooked through.

TIP Capers are a handy store-cupboard ingredient with lots of punchy, salty flavour. You could swap them for chopped olives or leave them out.

Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne.

*This cost assumes you already have some basic store-cupboard ingredients. Prices taken from Sainsbury’s and correct at time of going to press.