Yotam Ottolenghi's Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

A flavoursome twist on hummus from Yotam Ottolenghi, these lentils are best served with warm pitta bread for a light dinner or hearty working-from-home lunch.

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This recipe has been through various incarnations before ending up uncannily similar to one of the typical Arab hummus variations I am used to from my childhood: warm hummus, topped with whole soft chickpeas and served with raw onion and hard-boiled egg. Here it is made with lentils and tomatoes but, essentially, we are talking about a similar set of hearty flavours that can set you up nicely for a busy day, or be served as an early supper. For a dairy-free option, substitute the butter with more olive oil. Serve this with a pitta and nothing else

Serves 3 as a main or 4 as a starter


200g Puy lentils
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
4 medium tomatoes, blanched, skinned and cut into 1cm dice (330g)
25g coriander, chopped
60g tahini paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
small red onion, thinly sliced (25g)
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
½ tsp paprika, to garnish (optional)
salt and black pepper


Bring a medium pan of water to the boil. Add the lentils and cook for 20–30 minutes or until completely cooked. Drain and set aside.

Put the butter and oil in a large sauté pan and place on a medium–high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin and cook for about a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of the coriander and the cooked lentils. Continue to cook and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the tahini, lemon juice and 70ml of water, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Lower to a medium heat and continue to stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until hot and thickened. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the lentils a little so that some are broken up and you get a thick porridge consistency.

Spread the lentils on a flat serving plate and sprinkle with the onion, remaining coriander and a final drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside and a sprinkle of paprika, if using.

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