Red onion, ginger, garlic and basil lentils

Red onion, ginger, garlic and basil lentils. Photograph: Emma Jervis

Red onion, ginger, garlic and basil lentils. Photograph: Emma Jervis

Sat, May 19, 2018, 06:00

  • Serves: 4


  • 500g lentils
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 medium-sized red onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 30-40g fresh ginger
  • Cold water
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups chopped basil leaves


This is an interesting and fresh way to have lentils. The ginger adds nourishing heat while the garlic and lemon juice adds a sharpness to the dish. Some fresh mint along with the basil works very well. This dish is even better when made in advance and reheated. If you manage to have any leftovers they can be used to accompany some grilled chicken or lamb.

1 Wash and rinse the lentils in warm water, then drain.

Put a pan on a medium heat and add in the sesame oil followed by the onions. Season generously with salt and pepper, lower the heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until they become nice and soft.

3 Add the lentils, pour in just enough cold water to cover, and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, finely grate the ginger and add to the lentils along with the zest and juice of the lemon.

4 Peel the garlic cloves and crush them into the lentils and continue to cook for roughly 20 minutes, making sure the lentils do not dry out. Cooking time will depend on the type of lentil you have chosen, so test from time to time.

When just soft, remove from the heat and stir in the coarsely chopped basil, check for seasoning and serve.