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Turkish carrots and lentils with herbs

Serves 4-6 as a side dish, 3 as a main course

This shows just how delicious frugality can be.


You will need:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, in slim crescent moon slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ½tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g (3½oz) green or Puy lentils
  • 6 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 275ml (9½fl oz) vegetable stock or water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint, parsley or dill
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Now add everything else except the herbs, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Bring to the boil and cook until tender and the liquid has been absorbed. It should take 30 minutes.
  3. Taste, add the herbs and lemon juice, then adjust the seasoning. Add a generous slug of extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

The recipe above is quite exotic, but also consider:

Cook 500g (1lb 2oz) carrots (in batons or slices) in chicken stock or water with a knob of butter, seasoning and a little sugar until the liquid has been absorbed and the carrots are tender and glazed.

Or add chunks of fried bacon and parsley or mint. A slug of double cream is lovely, too. Or go luxurious and toss the cooked carrots with butter-fried wild (or cultivated) mushrooms, adding a dollop of cream and a generous grating of nutmeg or scattering of parsley.

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