Serves 4 as a side dish
This is a tasty make-ahead dish that’s great as a side dish with baked chicken or fish. It is also ideal as part of a buffet. But actually I like it so much I like to make it a meal of it, a nice big bowl full with lots of crusty bread and butter. Puy lentils are a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, they are low in fat and they make you feel full so you are less likely to have snack attacks. Pretty much an all-round winner!
Don’t be tempted to add salt to the water for the lentils or to cook them in stock that contains salt. Lentils cooked with salt tend to go hard, so it’s always best to season them after cooking.
250g puy lentils, rinsed well under running water
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
9 sundried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
1 to 2 large red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ rounded teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ rounded teaspoons ground cumin
1 rounded teaspoon ground black pepper
Extra salt for seasoning
Simmer the lentils in a large pan of unsalted water until they are cooked but still have a slight bite to them. This will take about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onions for five minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes and continue to cook for a further five minutes or so until the onions are softened and golden. Add the chilli, garlic and salt and continue to sauté for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the oregano, cumin and black pepper and stir fry for two minutes, making sure the mixture does not catch.
Mix the sauce into the cooked lentils. Taste the dish and add salt as necessary, stirring well to make sure the salt is evenly distributed.
Cool and chill in the fridge until needed.