Lentils, radicchio, and walnuts with (manuka) honey

I am in love with a new cookbook of mine, Plenty more by Yotam Ottolenghi. I made yesterday’s lunch form it, and I felt really cheffy while making it. For me, just the right amount of fiddling with the number of steps, as well as a straightforward recipe.

Yotam Ottolenghi is certainly one of the most innovative writer chefs and I am very happy to be living in a city that allows me access to all the different ingredients used in his dishes. There is a bit of fusion going on in the recipes, but most of it is based on Arabic and Mediterranean flavours.

You can find the recipe either in his book or in his Guardian column. Clearly, I have no access to manuka honey, but the resulting dish is very nice nonetheless.

Lentils, radicchio, and walnuts salad

  • Servings: 4 as a starter
  • Difficulty: A little effort
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200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
100g (manuka) honey
¼ tsp flaked chilli
½ tsp ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper
About 1 tsp water
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
100g walnuts
½ medium-size radicchio
60g pecorino fiore sardo, or other mature ewe’s or goat’s cheese
20g each roughly chopped basil, dill and parsley


Heat the oven to 170˚C.

Put the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, add the bay leaves and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.

While the lentils cook, prepare the walnuts. In a bowl, combine half the honey, the chilli, turmeric and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and add enough water to create a thick paste, about a teaspoon or so. Add the walnuts to the honey/chilli paste and stir to coat. Spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once, until crunchy and dry, but still sticky.

Drain the lentils and return to the pan. Whisk together the vinegar, half the oil, the remaining honey, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper until the honey dissolves. Stir into the lentils while they’re still hot, then leave to cool a little. Discard the bay leaves.

Pour the remaining oil into a medium frying pan and place on high heat. Cut the radicchio into eight wedges and place these in the hot oil, sprinkling them with a little salt. Cook for a minute on each side, then transfer into a large bowl.

Add the lentils, walnuts, sliced pecorino, and herbs. Stir gently, taste and season accordingly. Serve warmish or at room temperature1.

  1. Or very hot if your boyfriend insists.

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