Archive for the ‘lentils’ Category

It’s been many years that I’ve anticipated getting the wonderful cookbook Plenty, by Ottolenghi. Last weekend, the book in my hands, I poured over every recipe with so much excitement.

As a busy student in my 4th year of medical school, and my fiancé in his first year of residency, we sometimes stall when it comes to creative ways to cook delicious vegetarian meals. We get a weekly local food box, which is wonderful, but we sometimes lack the creativity that we used to have. This cookbook has completely turned that around, helping us come up with fantastic delicious and realistic ideas.

Pulses are a wonderful alternative to meat protein. I tout their benefits to many people who ask me about ways to increase fibre or to those who are looking to increase the amount of alternative proteins. They fill me up, so that if I am on my feet all day long, I am still able to function at the end of the day.

This recipe is particularly flavourful, with nutty richness and crunch, the surprise hints of mint, and the buttery celeriac. I cannot recommend it enough!


Directions – serves 4


  • 1 cup puy lentils
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 cm wedges
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp hazelnut oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp chopped mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275, toast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Chop coarsely.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, water, bay leaves, salt and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils become cooked but remain slightly chewy. Drain with a sieve.

In the meantime, bring lots of salty water to a boil in a separate pot. Boil the celeriac 10-12 minutes until soft.

While things are cooking place the oils, vinegar, mint and some salt and pepper at the bottom of a serving bowl. When the lentils are drained pour them into the serving bowl and stir to coat with the dressing. Place the celeriac, 2/3 of the chopped hazelnuts as well as 1/2 the chopped mint in with the lentils and stir until mixed in. Serve with crusty bread and sprinkle the remaining mint and hazelnuts on top.

Hope you enjoy!


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I’ve been making an effort to finish off all the food stored in my cupboard before I leave – which makes for interesting combinations of things I wouldn’t always think of eating together. This time, it was sunchoke latkes with applesauce and thyme-infused lentil cakes with gruyère. On my last market visit, I also picked up a beautiful bouquet of plump thyme which I have been enjoying in meals and as tea ever-since.

I have been making lentil cakes since I came across a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian I have at home. Since that fateful recipe trial, I have developed my own recipe which basically adapts itself to whatever I have on hand at the time.

Ingredients – 6-8 servings


-1 cup puy lentils
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-4 sprigs thyme

Lentil cakes

-cooked lentils from above, cooled
-thyme leaves from 12 sprigs of thyme
-1/2 cup grated gruyère (or sharp cheddar)
-1 leek, white part only, minced
-3 Tbsp flour
-2 eggs, slightly beaten
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-extra gruyère, grated


In a pot, place broth, lentils, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, covered. Most of the juice should be absorbed, and the lentils should be cooked but still a bit chewy. Remove from heat to cool. If you are short for time, put the pot of lentils in a couple of inches of cold water in the sink – that does the trick as long as you don’t spill the lentils or forget they are there when you turn the tap on!

Preheat oven to 375F.

Taste the lentils – if they are not salty enough add a bit of salt, but otherwise you’re ready to continue. Slice the leek, grate the gruyère, and combine those two ingredients with the lentils. Add the flour and thyme, and mix well. Add the eggs, and mix some more.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tablespoonfuls of the lentil mixture on it. Use your fingers to form them into disks of approximately 4 cm diameter and 1.5 cm thick. Sprinkle some additional gruyère over top, and then drizzle with a tad of olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the bottoms are golden. Serve with a salad, your favourite vegetables, or latkes!


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