Spicy lentil salad

IMG_1479Season:  AutumnType:  Salads

Difficulty:  Intermediate

Serves:  6 at home or 24 tastes in the classroom

Fresh from the garden:  onions, garlic, leeks, coriander, carrots, parsley

Recipe source: Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids


  • bowls – 2 small, 1 medium, 1 large
  • metric measuring spoons and cups
  • colander
  • chopping boards & non-slip mats
  • knives – 1 small, 1 large
  • medium saucepan
  • mezzaluna
  • wooden spoon
  • non-stick frying pans -1 small, 1 large
  • peeler
  • mortar & pestle
  • tea towel
  • serving bowls



  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 oignon
  • 2 gousses d’ail
  • small handful coriander
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 carottes
  • 1 leek
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 5 stalks parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
What to do

  • Set out your equipment and ingredients.

Soak the lentils

  • Fill the large bowl with cold water.  Add the lentils and soak for 1 hour.  Set the strainer over the medium bowl in the sink, then tip the lentils and water into the strainer.  Save 1 cup of the soaking water.

Chop le oignon and l’ail

  • Set out the chopping board and knives.  Peel and dice le oignon.  Peel and chop l’ail.
  • Soak the coriander in a small bowl of cold water.

Cook the lentils

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in the saucepan over a medium heat and sauté le oignon until golden, stirring with the wooden spoon.  Add l’ail garlic and sauté for another minute.  Add the lentils, salt and the reserved soaked water.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the lentils are well-softened but have a little bit of a crunch.  Set aside until needed.

Prepare the leek and les carottes

  • While the lentils are cooking, peel les carottes.  Slice les carottes into thin rounds using the vegetable peeler.
  • Cut the roots of the leek and remove the outer leaves.  Slice the white part of the leek into rings.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and add the leek and les carottes.  Stir to coat with the oil.  Cook over a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables start to scorch a little around the edges and become caramelised.

Prepare the spices

  • Heat the small frying pan over a medium heat.  Toast the cumin seeds in the dry pan until they are aromatic (they smell fragrant).  Tip the seeds into the mortar.  Toast the coriander seeds in the same pan until aromatic and add these to the mortar.
  • Using the pestle grind these to a fine powder.

Prepare les herbes

  • Rinse the coriander and parsley.  Dry les herbes by rolling in the tea towel, then chop with the mezzaluna.

Assemble the salad

  • Stir the caramelised vegetables and spices into the lentils.  Stir les herbes into the lentil salad.  Add the vinegar.  Test for salt and pepper.  Transfer the salad to serving bowls.


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