My two favourite green lentil & carrot recipes
a warm salad, and a stew
We could eat either of these no matter what the weather is like. They are good as starters, side dishes or filling enough given the portions laid out here, as a heart enough main dish for two.
Well the veggies come and go, but I usually remember to make these dishes when I have carrots to use up and am looking for ideas. And who doesn’t have some basic lentil ingredients in the store cupboard? Puy lentils, green lentils, any earthy kind like that will do. Even a bottle or tin or ready-cooked ones work well too – just make sure they are nice and soft but not overcooked to a mush!
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When we arrived back in the Canaries, we bought far too many vegetables in our first days, but we were so excited to see all the local produce for sale and we wanted to both sample and support it. I also bought some green lentils, before we unpacked. Then later discovered that the tenants over the summer didn’t use the green lentils I left here in the store cupboard. next time I’ll have to also leave these 2 recipes for them!
The stew recipe called for 6 carrots but these two enormous ‘horse’ carrots did the job nicely.
The similarities and differences in the dishes
First – both are green, white and gold in colour on the plate and that’s always a winner for me, being the Irish flag colours;)
Both use a fragrant spice – the salad has cumin seeds and the stew has coriander seeds.
The salad then uses a citrus vinaigrette dressing, and the stew has chili.
The salad adds green rocket as a filler and the stew adds onion.
The salad is best served with the contrasting saltiness of white Turkish cheese or Greek feta, the stew is served with a cooling thick white Turkish or Greek yoghurt.
- A chopping board like this simple long lasting one.
- A Sharp Knife like this simple inexpensive chef knifewe’ve had for years – for the carrots and the petal onions.
- Better still – use a mandoline ! For the salad carrots, and the crescent onions, a mandoline is best, but I have managed to get away with just a sharp knife or vegetable peeler though it’s not ideal.
- A good spatula or tongs for stirring the stew constantly.
- A heavy based pan, or decent frying pan for the stew.
- Mortar and pestle. It doesn’t have to be a big heavy one, but we do love those best! We also love to use big heavy ones like this as serving dishes for salsas and guacamole etc. Here in the Canaries, we have some light wooden ones and they do the job well enough.
1. If you don’t have all the ingredients in a recipe, don’t be afraid to substitute, but do try to get them in soon to try the recipe again as it is and see which you prefer and why!
2. Save your tears and use a Mandoline to slice your onions – and carrots. It´s fast and precise. It makes light and perfect work of finely slicing these sweet yellow onions … and you want to be quick as they smell strong. The link below in the TOOLS takes you to the one we use. We also love de Buyer ( and happen to have one of those too), or for much less- buy a Milcea or Oxo branded one, so check those out when you click through.
3. Spice seeds are so versatile. We love to toast and grind, but you’ll see in these recipes that they stay whole or simply crushed, adding to the texture as well as the flavour. Really important not to substitute with ground spices here if you can possibly avoid it.
4. After having visited Turkey this summer and sampled so many wonderful white cheeses, we realized that Greek feta is only in so many recipes because of their great marketing! In the UK we never saw Turkish cheese or yoghurt but in Europe we do see the Turkish yoghurt. It looks and tastes the same as that lovely thick white yoghurt that we call ‘Greek’ yoghurt. Interesting! So if you see cheese or yoghurt from Turkey – get it! You won’t be disappointed.
Roasted carrot, rocket & lentil salad
Recipe straight from the BBC good food site, with my variations thrown in below.
Pictured before the white cheese goes on top!
• 300g carrots , peeled and sliced lengthways
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• 1 lemon , zested and juiced
• ½ tsp honey
• ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
• 250g ready-cooked lentils
• ¼ cucumber , chopped
• 80g rocket , washed
• 1 avocado , sliced
• 50g feta , crumbled
serves 2, takes 10mins to prepare, 35mins to cook
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Toss the carrots in 1 tbsp oil, the cumin seeds and some seasoning. Spread out on a baking tray and roast for 30-35 mins until soft and charred around the edges.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining oil, the lemon zest and juice, honey and mustard. Once the carrots are cooked, stir through all the remaining ingredients, then toss through the dressing to serve.
Meanwhile grab some fresh thyme – a handful, about 2g for two people. De-stem if it’s old thyme and chop it finely. (I´ve also since made this recipe with dried thyme – it works well too.)
Add 10ml water and 10ml white or rice vinegar to the chopped thyme plus a big pinch sea salt flakes and a little ground black pepper. Mix.
Take the onions off the heat when ready- don’t delay in case they burn. Add the thyme /vinegar mix to the onions and stir in. You can see it getting nice and creamy as it emulsifies.
SERVE immediately! 🥰 enjoy.
The avocado is best to have but it’s not always available or affordable, so I have tried to make do with chopped courgette, pumpkin, or chick peas – something soft and nutty or creamy will do.
The rocket we’re getting here at the moment just isn’t good ( see the last picture to the right below). It’s stringy and tasteless with mor tough stalk tan leaf- I think it’s like the huge bland local rocket here in the Canaries and I’m not a fan! So, I’m going to have to find a salad leaf alternative – maybe spinach leaf so that I keep that peppery flavour.
Turkish green lentil dish… yesil mercimek yemegi
Recipe by Diana Henry
cooked from, inspired by, her Instagram feed
I saw her post with the recipe for this last week when we were unpacking. I had just bought some local carrots (horse carrots we always called these;), and knew there was a pack of green lentils that needed using up before the use but date so I jumped at this simple recipe as she sold it so well! And oh my, it was so so so so so delicious! And so easy.
Question… dear readers
Does anyone know if these use by dates are even necessary for lentils!
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into slim crescent moon-shaped slices (see tips below)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 125g Puy or green lentils
- 6 carrots, cut into rounds (not too thickly)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- Pinch sugar (optional – but I did it and I think it made a big difference to the dish)
- 275ml water or vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper (if you’re using chicken stock you won’t need much salt)
- 2 tbsp chopped herbs (parsley or dill or a mixture)… or see what I used below!
- Good squeeze of lemon and a bit of extra virgin olive oil to finish… I definitely feel this makes the dish too, so don’t leave it out!
We didn’t know what the recipe meant about onion crescents – maybe that means cutting ring slices in half to make half moons! So mr kins made a decision. Later, it got me researching chef names for onion cuts, and I realise he made onion ‘petals – as in the picture above. So I realize our dish doesn’t look as dainty as Diana Henry’s, but I wouldn’t change it if you are having it as a main dish since the onion petals made it feel more substantial.
We also only had coriander leaves (cilantro), so used that instead of the recipe’s parsley or dill. Might try those out sometime but honestly the coriander was so delicious that I’d be loathe to change it!
Now for the recipe, taken directly from Diana’s Insta feed – hope that’s ok but why should I vary what the great chef says when it’s perfect! It will be interesting to also get a chance to taste this in Turkey, and maybe even see it cooked there too. I’ll update this post when I do.
I also still can’t believe how such simple, inexpensive ingredients, cooked so simply, managed to deliver this winning flavour! We topped it with greek yoghurt and gobbled it up all in one go for dinner. (“Bloody lovely” as she rightly said.)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and saute the onion until it’s soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another two minutes.
Add everything else – except the herbs, lemon and extra virgin olive oil – and bring to the boil. Immediately turn the heat right down and cook gently for about 25 minutes.
The liquid should have been absorbed by that stage (add a little water if you need to. You don’t want the lentils to burn but you do want all the liquid to have disappeared by the time the lentils and carrots are tender). Keep a close eye on the lentils – they can go from just right to mushy in a matter of minutes. The lentils should retain their shape. If they get soft they’re still fine – edible – but you lose structure and that makes the dish a bit flat.
Add the herbs, some lemon and extra virgin olive oil and taste – you might want to adjust the seasoning. This is when you really ‘make’ this dish, when you add the lemon and extra virgin olive oil and check the seasoning. These final adjustments can take this from bland to exceptional.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a bowl of Greek yoghurt (stir some crushed garlic into it if you want to).
To be totally fair from cook to real chef here, here’s what she also said.
“The recipe is in my book ‘Food from Plenty’ where there are lots of pulse and vegetable recipes. It’s a book about making the most of what you have – leftovers or inexpensive ingredients. It came out in 2008 during the financial crash. It’s just as useful today. “
I love her recipes and even have a link to the ebook version of another one of her books.
They’re so much cheaper to buy that way and I just had a look and found it online along with the Plenty one mentioned above. They really are super bargains and I find it do easy to use the phone, computer or ipad as a recipe book – so click through from that post on the blog to see them all.
(By the way, Anyone signing up to fromcooktochef gets access to the private post on how to get free ebooks )
More lentil based recipes coming up soon!
I want to find a great lentil/beetroot/avocado combo in a veggie burger to make. Comment or get in touch on email@example.com if you have one. First though, I have to make missy kins great Turkish red lentil and bulgar wheat koftas for you ( and me 🙂
Look out for the new posting.
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Thank-you to Tengyart from Russia for this sad to mad eggs image.
Eggs can be the most difficult things to cook well, and I feel this image represents all the emotions from cook to chef.
Makes us giggle.