Tag Archives: puy lentils

Recipe: Lentil and Mustard Salad


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.

 photo IMG_0525_zpsv4vqiqkd.jpg

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


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

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


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

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: Puy lentil stew with green cabbage


I generally have a guilty feeling about puy lentils. I love their slate green colour and the cool feel of them slipping through my fingers, but I tend to like looking at them better than cooking with them. They’re not quite as adaptable as other pulses. They don’t blend easily into soups and spreads like split red lentils and yellow split peas. They can’t be mashed as a base for burgers like the bigger pulses can. And at 45 minutes cooking time they’re just that little on the slow side for a quick evening meal. So they tend to sit in their jar in the cupboard, looking good but not getting used.

I didn’t start off this recipe thinking about puy lentils. I was actually looking at ways of getting more green leafy vegetables into my diet when my cooking habits are not of a no-meat and two veg variety. I thought of a stew with green cabbage added right at the end and the idea of adding a green pulse to this was irresistible. I’ve also added mushrooms to add a meaty mouthfeel to the stew as well. This stew has a real depth of flavour, I would recommend serving to a meat-eater who needs to be convinced about eating pulses.

A quick note about puy lentils – give them a quick once-over before adding them to the pot. Alone of all the pulses I’ve used these can occasionally hide small bits of gravel amongst them.

Puy Lentil Stew photo 72bb7519-7e00-4760-941b-256d16f37a1b_zpse1efa442.jpg

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, chopped
100g mushrooms
100g puy lentils
500ml veg stock
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1/2 tsp marmite
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
100g green cabbage, shredded
lemon juice

Soften the garlic and leeks in a little oil in a saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, lentils, stock, mushroom ketchup, marmite, bay leaf and tarragon.
Simmer for 45 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender.
Remove the bay leaf.
Take the pan off the heat, stir in the cabbage and let it wilt in the heat of the stew.
Season with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, squeeze some lemon juice over it.

Serves 2
Goes well with leek puddings.