Vegan Lentil Bobotie: A Tribute to South Africa’s Heritage Day

Hello, preppers! Chloe here – content contributor at VMPS. While I’m usually behind the scenes when it comes to creating content for you all, this time I’m front and centre in introducing this truly local South African dish, Bobotie, just in time for Heritage Day.

This lentil bobotie dish was inspired by a local cooking stalwart, the late Faldela Williams. First published in 1988, her collection of recipes titled The Cape Malay Cookbook has been used to create tasty treats in my childhood home for Sunday lunches, 21st birthdays, weddings… the works! For me and many other South Africans, her recipes are the epitome of Cape Malay cooking, and this is a truly local (and vegan) way to enjoy the dish!

What is bobotie?

Bobotie (pronounced ba-boor-tea) is a Cape Malay dish, traditionally made with minced, curried meat and fruit (usually chutney) with a creamy egg-based topping.

It’s traditionally enjoyed with hot yellow rice (with raisins in it), and vegetables such as sweetened pumpkin, roasted potatoes, and curried brinjals on the side.

The Cape Malay people have influenced many parts of the South African culture, and our culinary specialities are enjoyed locally and worldwide. For dessert, treat yourself to a koeksister (pronounced koo-sister) or two – you deserve it!

Happy Heritage Day beautiful people and happy cooking!

Is this meal nutritionally well-balanced?

This meal is in fact very high in protein, thanks to the lentil and tofu combination! It also contains some veggies and healthy fats. To make this meal more balanced, you could serve it with a starch such as rice and a fresh side salad.

Storage recommendation

I recommend storing this meal in the fridge and consuming it within four days from preparation. This will ensure the ideal nutritional and taste quality. This meal is also a great freezer-friendly option.

Serving recommendation

The recipe for this meal is developed to make four moderate meals. If you prefer to eat large meals, you can simply double the recipe. In my household, I prepare moderate-sized meals for myself and large meals for my partner.

I recommend serving this meal hot – three minutes in the microwave should do. I baked this bobotie in the oven, directly in its oven-safe meal prep container. This means that you can also reheat the bobotie, before serving, in the oven!

Don’t forget to share your meals with me and other fellow VMPS preppers by tagging your posts with #veganmealprepsunday. I’d love to see how your meals turned out!

Print Pin
4.8 from 5 votes

Vegan Lentil Bobotie

Discover this local, Cape Malay delicacy made vegan! This lentil bobotie recipe features lentils and tofu instead of minced meat and egg. Try this proudly South African, freezer-friendly meal!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cape Malay, South African
Keyword Bobotie, Meal prep, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 meals


Lentil mixture/base

  • 1 slice bread crust removed (whole wheat works just fine)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups dried brown lentils rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1 TBSP garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 TBSP medium curry powder (or hot if you prefer a bite)
  • 160 ml chutney (I used the classic Mrs Balls)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  • 480 g silken or soft tofu
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/3 cup plant milk (I used oat milk)
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black Indian salt
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt and milled black pepper to taste


Lentil bobotie base

  • Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  • Soak the bread in water for 10 minutes, then squeeze dry.
  • In a saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Fry the onion with a pinch of salt until translucent and slightly browned. Then, add the garlic, carrots,  herbs and spices and continue to fry while regularly stirring for a few more minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and all the water has been absorbed.
  • Transfer the lentil mixture to ovenproof meal prep containers and smooth over the top. Poke a few holes into the mixture with a fork, so that the topping can seep through.


  • Blend all the topping ingredients together, except for the bay leaves.
  • Pour the topping over lentil mixture, smooth over, and top with bay leaves. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the topping is golden and set.


  1. Chrismi
    September 25, 2020

    This looks so yummy! However, I’m in a place where tofu isn’t available. Could you maybe suggest an alternative?

    1. Lien Vanneste
      September 29, 2020

      Hi Chrismi, if you are not vegan and have access to eggs, you could lightly beat 2 eggs with 300 ml of plant milk. You then add the egg mixture to the lentils for the last 5-10 mins of baking! You’ll also need to lower the heat to 180 degrees for that. Alternatively, if you want it to be vegan, you can make a simple white sauce by blending 2 Tbsp of tapioca starch, 4 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, some black Indian salt and 300 ml of plant milk. For this option, you just heat the blend in a sauce pan while stirring consistently until it thickens. Then, pour it over the lentil base. I’ve tried this option before, when I didn’t have tofu on hand and it was nice, however, it’s not as good as the tofu option! Let me know if you try any of these 2 options and how it turned out. Best of luck! Sending love.

  2. Nicolene Coetzer
    September 30, 2020

    5 stars
    This is such an easy recipe to follow. First time ever to try this and its amazing. You make being vegan so much easier 🌼

    1. Lien Vanneste
      September 30, 2020

      Hi Nicolene, thank you so so much for your kind comment. I’m so happy you found this recipe helpful!

  3. Nina Saacks
    October 10, 2020

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it was delicious… yum!!! I did have to make a few changes though as there’s is no tofo etc in the sticks out here in Mozambique, but I do have my own chickens and fresh eggs, so I followed the alternative you suggested above and it worked like a charm. Thanks a mill and look forward to making it again soon.

    1. Lien Vanneste
      October 10, 2020

      Hi dear Nina, I’m so happy to hear you managed to whip up this dish in Mozambique, using the suggested changes. And that you enjoyed it. Sending lots of love to sunny Mozambique. Love, Lien.

  4. Nadia Mulder
    October 10, 2020

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe. Thank you for creating it, I’ll be making it many more times!

    One suggestion for the future is to maybe soak the brown lentils for a bit before cooking. It didn’t quite cook to a 100% but rather 90%. But maybe that’s just personal preference ☺️

    1. Lien Vanneste
      October 10, 2020

      Hi Nadia! Thank you so much for your review and your kind words. I’m so happy you made the recipe and enjoyed it. I agree, soaking would definitely reduce the cooking time! I will add that to the recipe, thank you! The lentils should definitely be nice and soft, before transferring the lentil mixture to the oven. I will also highlight that in the instructions. Have a great weekend further and happy prepping, for tomorrow. Sending love, Lien.

  5. C.
    October 11, 2020

    5 stars
    The recipe was so good! Actually I cooked bobotie for meal prepping. But in the evening there was nothing left: my family was so excited and didn’t want to stop eating. 😂
    Thank you for sharing the recipe of this delicious meal! 🙏🏻

    1. Lien Vanneste
      October 12, 2020

      Hi C! Thanks a million for your positive review. You made my Monday! Have a good week further. Love, Lien.

  6. Alexandra
    January 22, 2021

    Hello Lien,

    Could one substitute the chickpea flour or an alternative like buckwheat or just plain flour? I have all the ingredients apart from the chickpea flour! 🙂

    1. Lien Vanneste
      January 22, 2021

      Hi Alexandra, I haven’t tried that yet, but I think it should be possible. I think your best bet would be to use plain flour. Instead of 1/3 cup of flour, use 1/3 cup + 1 TBSP. I hope that helps! If you do try it, let me know how it went. Love, Lien.

  7. Rafael
    March 5, 2021

    4 stars
    Ingredients are good, but to avoid the lentils not becoming tender: add lemon/any vinegar you may use (traditionally there’s some Worcester sauce and brown vinegar involved) at the end of cooking them. I would also have the water:lentil ratio 3:1 instead of 2:1. Otherwise delicious!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating