We absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings, including the vegetarian version with crushed chickpeas and sautéed onions. When I am short of time though, I enjoy this vegetarian, sort of “Cheat Manti”, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious vegetarian sauce, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil.
You can make the vegetarian sauce ahead of time and make variations with other seasonal vegetables – meaty aubergines, mushrooms all would work well in the sauce. The butternut squash works really well with caramalised onions and earthy green lentils in the sauce.
My family absolutely love this vegetarian Cheat Manti, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do; garlicky yoghurt and spices infused olive oil complements the dish beautifully. You can serve Shepherd salad with sumac onions as a side, if you like.
If you also like to make manti, here is also my Vegetarian manti recipe with crushed chickpeas and caramalised onions. It is a satisfying and delicious dish and well worth your effort when you have time.
- 500g/1lb 2oz shell (conchiglie) pasta or your choice of pasta
- 850g/1lb 14oz peeled, deseeded butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes
- 30ml/2tbsp olive oil (for roasting the butternut squash)
- 15ml/1tbsp olive oil (for sautéing onions)
- 85g/3oz green lentils, rinsed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- For the garlicky yoghurt:
- 400g/14oz plain yoghurt (I like to use whole milk yoghurt)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- Salt to your taste
- For the spices infused olive oil:
- 10ml/2tsp (or more!) Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes
- 5ml/1tsp ground sumac
- 5ml/1tsp dried mint
- 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
- Few sprigs of chopped parsley to serve, if you wish
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
- Please take the yoghurt out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour before you ensemble the dish. For the garlicky yoghurt, combine the yoghurt with chopped garlic in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt to your taste, combine well and set aside.
- Place the cubed butternut squash on a wide oven tray and drizzle the 2tbsp olive oil over. Season with salt and pepper. Coat the squash the olive oil and seasoning (I recommend using your hands here) and roast in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until they are cooked and a little charred at the edges. Take the tray out of the oven.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed green lentils and water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, but not mushy. Drain excess water and set aside.
- On a large sauté pan, stir in the onions and pour in 1 tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onions start to change colour and caramalise. Stir in the roasted squash, cooked green lentils, season with salt and ground black pepper. Combine gently for 2-3 minutes, turn the heat off. You can prep this sauce ahead of time.
- Pour in the hot water to a medium sized pan and stir in your pasta (I like to use shell shaped conchiglie pasta, which reminds me the manti shape). Cook your pasta, al dente, as per the cooking instructions in the package (conchiglie pasta cooks al dente in 10 minutes). Take 2tbp of the pasta’s cooking liquid into the vegetable and lentil sauce; now turn the heat on and combine the liquid with the sauce gently and warm the sauce. Once paste is cooked, drain the water and drizzle a little olive oil over and combine, so the pasta doesn’t stick.
- In a small sauté pan, drizzle 2tbsp olive oil and stir in the pul biber or red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac. Stir and gently infuse the spices to the olive oil, over medium to low heat, for 1 -2 minutes, turn the heat off.
- You are now ready to ensemble your vegetarian cheat manti feast; using a serving spoon; place the pasta on a plate. Spread the 3 – 4 tablespoonfuls of the vegetable and lentil sauce over the pasta and scatter a few small dollops of garlicky yoghurt over the sauce. Drizzle spices infused olive oil over the garlicky yoghurt. Serve immediately.
- Afiyet Olsun.
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