Pic of Lamb meatballs and lentils with courgette, rosemary and olives

Lamb meatballs and lentils with courgette, rosemary and olives

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Meat mains

Lamb meatballs and lentils with courgette, rosemary and olives

Main Serves 2 30 min
Lentils can take an age to soften if salt is added as they cook, so season the dish at the end. Depending on your hob heat, your liquid may reduce quicker than mine. When I tested at home, I had more liquid left in the dish than in the kitchen studio, as the studio hob is fiercer. Keep watch and top up with water as needed, so you have some juices left in the pan to serve.

Cook's notes

We've recommended skinning your tomatoes to remove the tougher skins, but you can skip this (steps 3-5) and just chop if you don't mind the skins. It's a useful trick to learn, but a little cheffy. I often don't bother if I'm short of time.


  • 1 onion
  • oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 10g fresh rosemary
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 300g lamb kofta meatballs
  • 150g red lentils
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 courgettes
  • 60g pitted black olives
  • salt and pepper
Image of Lamb meatballs and lentils with courgette, rosemary and olives


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Peel and finely dice the onion. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching. If it looks like catching at any point, add a splash of water.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, wash and finely chop the rosemary so it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add to the onion as soon as it's chopped. Peel and finely chop, grate, or crush 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves. If you're skinning the tomatoes (see cook's note), boil a kettle of water.
  • Step 3

    Cut a small cross in the base of the tomatoes. Put them in a heatproof bowl, or use a saucepan. Add just enough boiled water to cover the tomatoes. Leave for about 45 seconds-1 minute, just until you can see the skins starting to peel away.
  • Step 4

    Drain the tomatoes into a colander, then run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel off and discard the skins, then roughly chop the flesh. If you don't mind the skins, skip steps 3-5 and just chop them. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan.
  • Step 5

    Add the lamb meatballs and fry, turning now and then to lightly brown them. Remove from the heat. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Add the lentils, meatballs, chicken stock, bay leaves and chopped tomatoes.
  • Step 6

    Bring up to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid as it cooks, and top up with a little more water if needed. By the end you want a sloppy mixture, not too wet or dry, a little like a lentil dal curry.Meanwhile, wash and chop the courgettes into about 2cm chunks.
  • Step 7

    After 10 minutes, add the courgettes and olives to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until the lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove the bay leaves then serve into bowls.

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