Black Lentils and Orange Squash

Serves 2 people with leftover lentils. Because leftover lentils are ESSENTIAL for LIFE


  • Mug of black lentils (whole urad dal)
  • 1 onion
  • Splash of sunflower oil
  • Tbsp bouillon powder or veg stock cube
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Creme fraiche
  • A generous handful of fresh sage and rosemary
  • Salt


  • Soak the lentils (urad dal) for 8 hours or overnight
    then rinse thoroughly
  • Finely chop the onion then fry in the sunflower oil for 5-10 minutes, until soft and browning
  • Add the lentils and the bouillon, or stock, disolved two mugs of  boiling water. Cook with the lid on until the lentils are soft, about an hour. If there is any water left, boil rapidly with lid off until it’s gone (or drain if you prefer). You may also need to add water during cooking, dal is not an exact science.
  • Peel and chop the squash into large slices or chunks (remove seeds) and toss in the olive oil, then bake at 220 degrees for 20 minutes (turn halfway through)
  • Using a mezzaluna (or sharp knife and shopping board) very finely chop the herbs together with a half teaspoon of salt so that you end up with some delicious green, herblicious salty dust. Add 2/rds of this to the cooked dal together with a knob (or 2) of butter and warm through.
  • Add the remaining salty herbs to the creme fraiche and stir well.
  • To serve, ladle the lentils onto plates, top with the squash and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Black lentils and squash

A note about the lentils: Urad dal aka black lentils aka black gram aka mungo beans can be found in Indian shops. If you can’t find them use puy lentils instead (much less soaking and cooking required though). Don’t use skinned urad dal or split urad dal – they taste totally different as the flavour comes from the skins.

You may have had them in Indian restaurants where they are cooked with masses of cream and butter. The skinned urad dal are ground to make dosas. What a versatile bean.


Leftover Lentils Burgers

No weights here as it depends on what quantity of leftover lentils you have. Just bung everything in and it should work. This makes it a useful leftovers recipe, not like that awkward Nigel Slater programme that claimed to use leftovers but in reality continued with his usual style of recipe (admittedly usually lovely) but with some allegedly stale cheese or overripe bananas or whatever. A good leftovers recipe can not be precise.


  • Cooked green lentils (I had about 4 portions’ worth, I always cook too many because they are cheap, I love them and the leftovers are versatile)
  • Soya mince
  • Oregano
  • Egg
  • Rye flour


  • Heat oven to 200 degrees c, grease a baking sheet.
  • Blend half the lentils and leave half whole
  • Mix both with a few handfuls of soya mince (mine was straight from the freezer), a beaten egg, lots of fresh or dried oregano and salt and pepper. My lentils were cooked in stock, garlic and chilli so already flavoursome but if yours are plain add some more flavour here.
  • Add enough rye flour to enable you to shape into burgers.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, turning half way through.

Served with lettuce and Wensleydale


Lentil and bean thick soup


Given up on summer recipes as having been in the garden for 5 minutes, my fingers have gone numb. Need to warn them on a bowl of this.

Vegan. Serves 4.

The Italians have a whole category of thick soups which are thickened with bread, pulses or potatoes. In my house they are called soup when they are served (by me) and stew when they are eaten (by my boyfriend). Whatever. This one is soft, squishy and comforting with plenty of green bits.


  • I onion, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 250g red lentils
  • water
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 100g cooked soya beans (or other white beans)
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 handful chopped parsley


  • Fry the vegetables starting with the onion, then leek, then the chill; they don’t need to be soft so about 5 minutes in all. Do not let them brown. This soup is better all soft and pale and smooth.
  • Add a mug of water and the lentils
  • Cook until the lentils are soft (you may need to add more water), about 10 minutes
  • Add the miso paste and stir in well, adjust the seasoning
  • Add the beans then the spinach and heat through until the spinach until it has wilted, then stir in the parsley
  • Serve in big bowls with a dollop of yogurt on top and if you fancy it. A wedge of lemon or lime on the side is also good