Tag Archives: lentils

Recipe: Lemony Lentil & Spinach Soup

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This recipe is based on one from A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices by Mona Hamadeh (review to follow). I have had to adapt it because a) I didn’t have the green lentils it originally called for and b) I really don’t like swiss chard. I did buy the chard for this recipe, but when I was cutting it up I gave it a quick taste and ick! if I want something that earthy, I’ll go lick an earthworm or something! So, no chard, but I had some fresh spinach to hand so I used that instead. Please use chard if you do like it.

This is a lovely soup. The strong lemon flavour seems to pull the sun into the soup, giving promise of warmer days to come. It’s freshness and warmth suit the uncertain spring weather. A keeper, I think with the possibilities of a change of vegetable to suit whatever is available.

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Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
250g split red lentils
1 l vegetable stock
250g fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 lemons, juiced

Soften the onion in a little oil in a large saucepan.
When the onions are translucent, add the lentil and vegetable stock.
Bring to the simmer, skim off any scum from the surface, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
Add the chopped spinach and lemon juice.
Stir vigorously to break up the lentils.
Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Recipe: Lentil and Mustard Salad

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I would not have put Ethiopian or Eritrean food at the top of my list to try, until a friend took me to an Eritrean restaurant. It was a revelation. Not only is the food very veg*n friendly, with a wide variety of pulse and vegetable dishes available, it tastes wonderful. One of my favourites was a lentil salad that had a kick of heat from mustard or horseradish. I had no idea how to reproduce it, until I came across this recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook.

The hidden ingredient was brown mustard seeds and they add a lovely pungency to the dish. I’ve used puy lentils here, but any whole green lentils would do, including a tin of green lentils, which would make this a really quick addition to a meal of different salads.

NB the water must be boiling for this recipe. Anything less and the dish will be bitter.

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Ingredients
190g puy or other green lentils
1/2 green pepper
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
8 peppercorns
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp boiling water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil

Put the lentils with 500ml of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
When cooked, drain and add to a bowl.
Chop the pepper into small dice and add to the lentils.
Put the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and grind until you have a coarse powder.
Add the chilli powered and the boiling water and stir.
Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir thoroughly.
Add the mustard dressing to the lentil and peppers and mix through.
Season with salt.

Serves 4 with other salads

Recipe: Asparagus and Puy Lentil Salad

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It’s nearly the end of the British asparagus season. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my local deli was still selling it on Saturday. This is probably the last recipe I’ll make with it this year, but it’s a good one.

Soaking the onions in vinegar is a tip I got from Nigella Lawson. It softens the taste of the onions and turns them bright pink at the same time – win/win!

Although this is a warm salad, it’s just as good cold.

Asparagus and Puy Lentil Salad photo DSCN1648_zps3dd3e745.jpg

Ingredients
100g puy lentils
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 red onion, halved and sliced
2 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
bunch of asparagus, trimmed and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Put the lentils and vegetable stock in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
While the lentils are cooking toss the onion slices in the vinegar and leave to steep.
Once the lentils are cooked add the asparagus to the pan and stir so that they are covered. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Drain the vinegar for the onions and whisk in the olive oil and the mint.
Pour the dressing over the lentils and asparagus.
Stir in the onion.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 2

Recipe: Braised Leeks with Puy Lentils

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Leeks are the most understated member of the onion family in terms of flavour, but somehow they are the only ones that really get to shine on their own. The trick is to cook them until they are tender, but not slimy. Here the braising brings out their sweetness and the lentils give the dish enough body to stand alone as a main course.

This is a grown-up dish of quiet pleasure, as satisfying as finding a convenient parking space or a perfectly ironed shirt.

I’d serve this with some mashed potato or crusty bread.

Braised Leeks photo DSCN1077_zps4e136416.jpg

Ingredients
1 red onion, chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
100g puy lentils
500ml veg stock
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 leeks, washed and chopped into 5cm lengths

Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in a little oil until the onion has gone translucent.
Add the lentils, the stock and the thyme.
Simmer gently, with the lid on the pan for 30 minutes.
Push the leek pieces into the liquid and simmer for another 15 minutes or the leeks are tender to the point of a knife.
Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lentil and Vegetable Soup

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I like vegetable soups, but too often they are a bit unsatisfying to me. So, faced with a fridge drawer full of vegetable oddments, making a soup was a no-brainer but adding lentils to it makes it a lot more substantial.

This is a lovely, warming, satisfying winter warmer. It’s so good, you won’t even notice that it’s fat-free as well!

Lentil & vegetable soup photo DSCN1030_zps47930682.jpg

Ingredients
150g red lentils
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 medium potato, roughly diced
1 medium carrot, roughly diced
1/2 head broccoli, chopped
1 courgette, roughly diced
1 1/2l vegetable stock
1/2tsp fresh thyme

Add all the ingredients, apart from the thyme, to a large saucepan and bring to the simmer.
Skim off any scum that appears on the surface.
Stir in the thyme.
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
Add more boiling water if it needs thinning down.

Serves 4

Recipe: Christmas Seitan, Mushroom and Leek Loaf

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Christmas is coming soon and in the weeks leading up to it, this blog is going to feature a few Christmassy recipes. We’re starting off with the big one, the main event, the roast meat replacement. The reason we’re posting this now, is that it contains Vital Wheat Gluten, which you might have to track down if you want to use this recipe, so I’m giving you time to do this before Christmas Day. I buy mine online, but if you have a local health store that stocks it all to the good.

I’ve come late to vegetarianism so I’ve never really been into the nut roast thing. I have two requirements for a Christmas roast – it should taste nice and you should be able to get cold cuts from it. I want to be able to have it in sandwiches! Seitan meets that last requirement, this loaf holds together well when it’s cold and will do very well with a bit of sage and onion stuffing between two slices of bread at 9pm on Christmas Day!

I’ve made the recipe with ordinary mushrooms and some dried shiitake mushrooms for added flavour, but you could make it with the same amount of shiitake mushrooms – it is Christmas after all. I cooked the lentil in enough water so that they were about the consistency of wallpaper paste. If yours are drier, just add extra water to the whole mix at the end. Use your own judgement about more liquid if it’s needed. It should be a fairly moist mix with about the same texture a bread dough, but if it’s too wet to hold together, add some more wheat gluten.

Seitan Leek & Mushroom Roast photo DSCN0998_zpsf4147cb1.jpg

Ingredients
Cooked ingredients
100g red lentils, cooked in water
2 leeks ,finely chopped
200g mushrooms, chopped to a medium fineness
10g dried shiitake mushroom, soaked and finely chopped

Wet ingredients
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup or vegetable Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp marmite
1 tsp mustard
100ml water

Dry ingredients
200g vital wheat gluten
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp vegetable buillon powder, or 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 white pepper

Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add the fresh and shiitake mushrooms. When they have started to reduce down, add the leeks and cook until they are translucent.
Let cool.
Mix the wet ingredients together and stir thoroughly.
Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix together well.
Stir in the cooled leeks and mushrooms and the lentils.
Pour in the wet ingredients and stir well until everything is evenly distributed.
Tip out onto kitchen foil and form into an oval, loaf shape.
Wrap the foil around it and seal the edges.
Steam over hot water for 90 minutes.
Take it out of the steamer and open the foil. Let the loaf rest, uncovered for about 15 minutes before carving. This will help it to firm up.

Serves 4, with leftovers for sandwiches later

Recipe: Carrot, Lentil and Coriander Soup

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In the late 80’s I was living and working in London. It was my first job, I was living alone for the first time as well, cooking what I wanted to eat with no one to please but myself. I have to say, for an apprentice foodie, I did make some grim choices – boil in the bag fish with parsley sauce being one of the worst. But it wasn’t all bad. I came across the New Covent Garden Soup Company, who were one of the first to make ready-made gourmet soups – a world away from the tinned varieties I was used to. I remember their chicken and tarragon soup, but the one that blew me away was the carrot and coriander soup. I don’t think I’d had anything quite that exotic in my own kitchen before.

In fond memory of those times, here’s my take on it. I’ve added some lentils to give it a bit more body for autumn days. I’ve also changed out the normal lemon juice for lime juice, I think it goes better with the coriander and it adds a great lift to the flavours.

Carrot & lentil coriander soup photo DSCN0985_zpsfc974c7d.jpg

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
500g carrots, roughly chopped
150g red lentils
1 tsp ground coriander
750 ml vegetable stock
3tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Juice 1/2 lime

Sweat the onion and garlic in a little oil.
When the onions are translucent add the carrots, lentils, ground coriander and vegetable stock to the saucepan.
Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.
Add the fresh coriander and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the lime juice just before serving.

Serves 4