Crushed Puy (French Green) Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

by Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, published 1997

  • 1 c lentils
  • 2 T unsalted butter (substitute olive oil for vegan option)
  • 2 T olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8" dice (scant 2 c)
  • 1-2/3 c cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/3 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp paprika to garnish (optional)
  • salt and black pepper

Bring a saucepan of water to 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 saute pan and place over medium-high heat.  Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, 4/5 of the cilantro and the cooked lentils.  Continue to cook and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the tahini, lemon juice, 4-1/2 T water, 1 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper.  Lower the heat to medium 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, the remaining cilantro and a final drizzle of olive oil.  Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside and a sprinkle of paprika.

Serves two (as main course or four as starter)

(Cook's note - another place to use the roasted sunflower seed butter in place of the tahini.  Think of this as an option to traditional hummus.  I've also made this with the tiny, black lentils.  German brown lentils (the most commonly found kind) don't have as pleasant a taste as the Puy lentils.)