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

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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!

vegan bobotie

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.

South African Vegan Lentil Bobotie Ingredients

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!

South African Vegan Lentil Bobotie Meals

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.

South African Vegan Lentil Bobotie Storage Recommendation

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!

South African Vegan Lentil Bobotie Serving Recommendation

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 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Calories 591kcal
Servings 4 meals
Author Lien Vanneste


Lentil mixture/base

  • 1 slice bread crust removed (whole wheat works just fine)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups dried brown lentils soaked overnight and 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.


Calories: 591kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 848mg | Potassium: 1521mg | Fiber: 35g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6091IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 10mg

Did you meal prep these Vegan Lentil Bobotie? Don’t forget to let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag @vegan_meal_prep_sunday on Instagram so I can see!

This post was all about Vegan Bobotie!

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4.86 from 7 votes

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Recipe Rating

  1. Felix Meyer

    Your site visitors, especially me appreciate the time and effort you have spent to put this information together. Here is my website Webemail24 for something more enlightening posts about Sports.

  2. Jennifer

    5 stars
    I wasn’t sure what to do with the bread, so I left it out. I don’t have apricot chutney either so I looked up a substitute/recipe for it. This was delicious even with the omissions and attempt to duplicate the chutney with apricot jam and flaked chili. Definitely on the “make this dish again” list! Our guests LOVED it and so did we!

    • Lien Vannest, meal prep lover, and founder of vegan meal prep sunday


      Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for letting me know your experience with this recipe and feel honored that you will be making it again! Re the bread, you are supposed to soak it for 10 minutes, then squeeze it dry. You add it to the dish in step 4. Love, Lien.

  3. Jane Backeberg

    5 stars
    I already had vegan mince made from lentils, mushrooms and beetroot so I just used the topping from your recipe. It was absolutely divine! Thank you so much.

  4. Rafael

    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!

  5. Alexandra

    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! 🙂

    • Lien Vannest, meal prep lover, and founder of vegan meal prep sunday

      Lien Vanneste

      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.

  6. C.

    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! 🙏🏻

  7. Nadia Mulder

    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 ☺️

    • Lien Vannest, meal prep lover, and founder of vegan meal prep sunday

      Lien Vanneste

      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.

  8. Nina Saacks

    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.

    • Lien Vannest, meal prep lover, and founder of vegan meal prep sunday

      Lien Vanneste

      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.

    • Lien Vannest, meal prep lover, and founder of vegan meal prep sunday

      Lien Vanneste

      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.