Tag: red lentils

Spicy Harissa Lentils with Lemon Tahini and Sweet Onions

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

A friend of ours gave us a large bottle of tahini which he brought back to Berlin from his latest trip to Israel. Guy knows how much we love this oily sesame paste and it wasn’t the first time that he brought some for us from one of his trips to the Middle East. This time, he announced solemnly that this Blue Dove Tahina is the best tahini ever. Unfortunately, I can’t read anything that’s written on it, apart from Quality Since 1921, the rest is in Arabic and Hebrew, but Guy told me that it’s not actually from Israel but from Palestine. If only people could forget about borders as easily as food does when it travels.

So, our special Tahina deserved some special recipes. Hummus came first, enjoyed only with some soft chunks of a white loaf of bread dipped into the velvety creaminess. We sprinkled a few pieces of the bread with the pure tahini paste and agreed that it’s so good that it doesn’t really need any addition, pure on bread – that’s perfection! However I couldn’t stop myself from coming up with another delicious way of making use of it: I whisked together a thick, oily sauce made of tahini, garlic roasted in olive oil and lemon juice – it’s divine. Then, I cooked red lentils in my  homemade vegetable broth and mixed it with spicy harissa, I drizzled the tahini sauce all over it and finished it off with onions, cooked until they were juicy, golden brown and almost as sweet as candy.

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Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa


Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

Spicy Harissa Lentils with Tahini and Sweet Onions

Serves 2

For the lentils

red lentils 200g / 7 ounces
vegetable broth (unsalted) 1/2l / 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper
olive oil 1 tablespoon

For the topping

olive oil
onions, cut in half and thinly sliced, 2
a pinch of sugar
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh parsley leaves 12

For the tahini sauce

olive oil 3 tablespoons
garlic, cut into tiny cubes, 2 large clove
tahini 1 1/2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1-2 teaspoon
a pinch of fine sea salt

In a large heavy pan, bring the lentils and broth to a boil and simmer on medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Stir in 1 teaspoon of harissa and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and cook the onions on medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown and soft, stir in a pinch of sugar.

For the tahini sauce, heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat for about 1 minute or until the garlic is golden but not dark. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the garlic oil into a bowl. Whisk in the tahini, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt, season to taste.

Divide the lentils between plates, sprinkle with the tahini sauce, a little more harissa (optional), crushed pepper and parsley. Enjoy!

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa


Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa



Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

Lentil Burger

I finally made my first preserved lemons of 2015, one of my new annual pantry traditions. Until last year, I focused on jams and chutneys in my kitchen, but then I remembered my grandmother’s passion for preserving, her huge cellar packed with shelves up to the ceiling. I can still picture the long lined jars of preserved fruits, all those cherries, plums, pears and apples kept in colourful juices, the crop always came straight from her own or her children’s garden. I used to love this room in her old house with the cherry tree in the garden, this was true kitchen magic for my young eyes.

In late summer, my family used to have so many fruits that preserving was the only way to prevent waste. Living in the city doesn’t really confront me with this problem, we eat the fruit and vegetables as soon as I buy them or not long after. So unfortunately, there are no baskets full of ripe late summer harvests waiting for me on the kitchen top, but I discovered a couple recipes that are equally satisfying, in preparation and consumption: lemons and artichokes!

This year’s preserved lemons are already as tasty as the last batch. I prepared them about 6 weeks ago and they still need a couple months to turn into perfectly tender bites, but I’m impatient and today’s recipe asked for their salty sourness. I made meatless burgers with black Beluga and red lentils. The dark lentils stayed crunchy after I cooked them and the red legumes were quite soft, the perfect burger mixture. I refined them with cardamon, parmesan and red onions, squeezed them in a bun and topped the little beauties with a refreshing dill dip and my fruity lemons – a proper spring burger!

Lentil Burger


Lentil Burger

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

I made 15 lentil patties, for the 2 sandwiches you will only need 4.

For 2 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 2
rucola, a small handful
preserved lemon, very thinly sliced, 1/4
(alternatively, you could use the roasted lemon peel from this recipe)

For the patties

black Beluga lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
red lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
small bay leaves 2
medium sized red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
organic eggs 2
parmesan, grated, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
breadcrumbs 70g / 2 1/2 ounces
cardamom 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
olive oil, for frying

For the dill sour cream

sour cream 200g / 7 ounces
fresh dill, chopped, 4 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
olive oil 2 teaspoons
heavy cream 1 tablespoon
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

Cook the red and black lentils separately, according to the instructions on the package, each with 1 bay leaf but without salt. My Beluga needed 20 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water (they should be al dente), the red lentils took 10 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water to be done (they should be soft and mushy). Drain both well once they are cooked and let them cool for about 10 minutes (I cooked mine a few hours before I made the patties).

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, gently mix the lentils and the ingredients for the patties with a wooden spoon until well combined. Wet your hands and form 70g / 2 1/2 ounces patties. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and fry the lentil patties for 2-3 minutes on medium on both sides until golden brown. You will have to fry them in batches. Transfer the patties onto the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 9 minutes.

Whip the ingredients for the dill sour cream until creamy and season to taste.

Spread a little rucola on each bottom side of the buns, lay 2 patties on top and drizzle some dill sour cream over the lentil burgers. Sprinkle with slices of preserved lemon and fresh dill. Enjoy!

Lentil Burger


Lentil Burger


Lentil Burger

Red Lentils and Smoked Halibut

Red Lentils + Haddock

I don’t know why but my kitchen shelves are always piled up with dried lentils in all sorts of different colours, red, yellow, green, black and a whole lot of shades in between. I stay stocked up as if there was a food shortage ahead of me – luckily they have a very long shelf life. It amazes me how different their tastes are. Each has its own characteristic aroma and there are endless delicious combinations with herbs, spices, meat and fish even. I guess that’s the reason why I can’t stop buying them. When I see a kind of lentil that is currently not in my kitchen shelf, I can’t help it, I have to think of what I would cook with them. Then I buy them and here it is: another package of these little legumes in the house.

I neglected the red ones for quite a while, without any reason. I noticed while putting some order back into my dried food compartment, my typical January “getting back into gear” motivation. A bit of order helps me to get back into a rhythm after the more relaxed and hedonistic Christmas season. Back to the shelf, the orange lentils glowing right in front of me remind me of a glorious combination of lentils, smoked fish, lemon and freshly grated horseradish. The radish is so spicy that it crawls up my nose which is great to balance out the smoked fish, Halibut in this case, and the unshakeable red lentils, steady and strong, untouched by all these strong companions!

Red Lentils + Haddock

Red Lentils with smoked Halibut, Lemon and Horseradish

For 3-4 people you need

smoked Halibut 350 g / 12.5 ounces
red lentils, rinsed,  300g / 1.5 cups
broth 700ml / 3 cups
onion, chopped, 2
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
heavy cream 3-4 tablespoons
chives, chopped, 3 tablespoons
fresh horseradish, grated
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

Heat a little oil in a large pot and fry the onions for a couple minutes. Add the lentils, the broth, lemon juice and zest and some ground pepper (but no salt!). Cook according to the cooking instructions on your package, mine need 7 minutes. When the lentils are done add the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Separate the smoked fish into big chunks and arrange on plates together with the lentils. Sprinkle with horseradish and chives.

Red Lentils + Haddock