Lentils with tomato and tahini

In Italy, people often eat lentils for New Year — apparently. The coin-like shape means that they’re associated with prosperity. A bigger reason is that they probably put them in a recipe that’s amazing and tasty. Here is ma favourite lentil recipe (after ma maw’s  soup — hi maw).

This is a middle-eastern dish, best eaten with some kindae pitta or flatbread. Or even tortilla chips, why not. I normally split a pitta in half lengthwise and toast the halves.

In brief: Heat some oil, garlic and spices in a pan while cooking the lentils in a separate pan, then once the lentils are cooked you add them to the garlicky oil, along with tomato, tahini and lemon.

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More


Serves 4 as a main



500g Puy lentils (or any green/brown lentils)

8 TBs olive oil

8 garlic cloves (or 3 TBs of crushed garlic — that’s what I use. Life’s too short mate)

1 TBs ground cumin

1 tin of plum tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)

150g tahini

5 TBs lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Spring onions, one bunch

100g coriander (optional, ’cause it gives some people the boke)

4 pitta breads



  1. Boil water and add to pan with lentils. Use just enough water tae cover the lentils, then top up as needed — it’s no’ pasta. Cook for aboot 25 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain them if they need it. If ye manage the water situation right, you might no have any water tae drain.
  2. While that’s happenin’, heat the oil in the other pan on a low heat, then add the garlic an’ cumin. Stir occasionally. Chop up the coriander.
  3. When the lentils are done, pap them intae the garlic pan wi’ the tomatoes and most of the coriander — save a wee bit for garnish. Turn the heat up tae medium. Stir well then add the tahini, lemon juice, a tablespoon of salt (aye really. Calm doon.) and some black pepper.
  4. Turn the heat back doon, then stir for about 5 more minutes. Add water as you go tae keep it moist — ye should add about 200ml (3/4 cup) of water in total. Gie the lentils a wee mash.
  5. Pap it oan the plates, then cut up the spring onions (scissors is fine, it’s no’ Masterchef) and chunk them on top wi’ the coriander. Don’t forget the pitta.


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