The other day my eight-year-old surprised me. She asked what was for dinner, and the only honest answer I could give the poor kid was tahini lentils with eggs and red onions. I braced myself. (The children have recently noticed that other people eat ‘normal’ food.) When she didn’t even look up from the Xbox and just said ‘Oh good,’ I knew I had to share this recipe with you.
cooking time: 1 hour
Tahini is rich in B vitamins, iron and vitamin E, and it isn’t hard to come by. I found mine in the ‘foreign’ aisle of Tesco. Made from sesame seeds, it’s used more commonly to make humus. Puy lentils can be harder to find, but I’ve used green ones instead and it tastes just as nice.
The texture of these lentils is really moreish. Adding tahini makes them taste creamy, but then again humus tastes creamy, and who could eat a whole bowl of that? The addition of peeled tomatoes and lemon juice lifts the whole thing and gives it a more varied texture. It goes really well with the tangy onions and the eggs.
Just a note of caution - lentils are very filling, because they’re packed with protein and fibre. If you gobble this down too quickly (easily done), you might not get up again that day.
This recipe is adapted from one by the ever adventurous Yotam Ottolenghi. Don’t let that put you off - by his usual standards, this is dead easy.
- 350g puy lentils, cooked and drained.
- 50g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 6 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 40g chopped coriander (leaves and stalks)
- 3 tbsp tahini paste, or to taste
- 5 tbsp lemon juice
- 100 ml hot water
- 1/2 tsp salt, a grind of black pepper
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 hard boiled eggs, halved
- 10g chopped coriander
Cook the lentils according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
Peel and crush the garlic. Peel the tomatoes by scoring the bottoms with a cross and then covering them with boiled water for a couple of minutes, until the skins come loose. Chop the tomatoes roughly and the coriander finely. Place the eggs in boiling water for 7 minutes, then run them under the cold tap and peel them. In a jug, stir together the tahini, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.
When the lentils are cooked, melt the oil and butter in a large heavy pan (I use a wok). Throw in the garlic and cumin and cook for two minutes, then add the tomatoes, 40g of the chopped coriander and the drained lentils. Warm them through and add the tahini mixture. Cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes until creamy and warmed through. Taste and add more tahini if desired (the original recipe called for twice this amount, but I find it tastes too claggy.)
Plate up the lentils, drizzling each serving with a little olive oil. Serve with the eggs, remaining coriander and sliced onions, placed in small bowls on the table so everyone can help themselves.