Roasted pepper, rosemary & lentil bowl with olive tapenade recipe image

Print Roasted pepper, rosemary & lentil bowl with olive tapenade

This lentil bowl has its origins in a dal. Here I’ve switched continents for the flavouring and given it a Spanish feel, with smoked paprika, almonds and an olive tapenade dressing.

Ingredients

  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 10g rosemary
  • Oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 200g red lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp passata
  • 30g black olives
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Prheeat oven to 220˚C/Gas Mark 7. Put the peppers in a large baking dish or roasting tray with no oil. Pop them in the oven. They’ll take about 40-45 minutes to roast. You want the skins to be blackening when they’re ready.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and halve the onion. Wash, peel and trim the carrots. Wash and trim the celery. Finely dice all three veg, about 1cm. Strip the leaves off 1 good sprig of rosemary. Finely chop so they resemble breadcrumbs. You want a generous 1 tablespoon worth.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, celery and rosemary. Fry on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Add a splash of water at any stage if it looks like it might. Remove from the heat once done.
  4. Meanwhile, put the capers in a cup of water. Leave them to soak. Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold water. Peel and finely chop or crush 2 garlic cloves. Wash the parsley. Shake dry or pat with kitchen paper. Heat the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan on a low heat, stirring regularly until golden and toasted. Transfer to a plate or bowl and keep to one side.
  5. Once the peppers have roasted, remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool slightly while you finish the lentils. Put the onion, celery and carrot pan back on the heat. Add half the chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add the lentils, three quarters of the smoked paprika, the dried thyme, passata, 600ml of water and a little pepper to season (no salt at this stage, as it toughens the lentils and they’ll take longer to cook). Bring the pan to the boil.
  7. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Keep an eye on the liquid and top up with water if it looks like it’s getting too dry. By the end you want a slightly sloppy dal or stew-like consistency. Make the tapenade while the lentils are cooking.
  8. Finely chop the olives and parsley leaves. Drain and chop the capers. Mix them all in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Stir in the remaining garlic, if you like too. Taste and add a little more oil, lemon or seasoning (the tapenade should taste sharp and punchy).
  9. Uncover the peppers. Pull off and discard the skins, remove the seeds (as best as you can). Slice the peppers up and stir into the lentils. Season to taste.
  10. Divide between 2 serving bowls. Scatter over the almonds. Drizzle over the tapenade and sprinkle over a little leftover smoked paprika to serve.

Cooks notes

Traditionally, a tapenade can contain anchovies for saltiness, but capers work well as a vegetarian alternative. Soaking the capers removes some of the excess saltiness from the brine they’re packed in, worth doing. You could also make this dish with roasted squash, sweet potato or shredded greens. It’s pretty versatile.
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