Puy lentils with beetroot and goats cheese

I tend to make this when I’ve got leftover puy lentils to use up as it takes 5 minutes, it’s delicious and very nutritious – packed full of iron. Lentils are a great and very cheap way of getting protein into your kids without giving them fish or meat. If you cook the lentils from scratch it doesn’t take much longer to make and you get a warm salad which is nice in winter. It makes me laugh how much Lexie looooves this dish but hates mashed potato!?!



Puy lentils with beetroot and goats cheese

If lentils and beetroot pre-cooked (or vac pac beetroot)
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins

If cooking lentils and beetroot
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 – 45 mins (depending on beetroot)

  • Puy lentils
  • Goats cheese – or feta cheese
  • Beetroot – fresh or vac pac
  • Salad leaves – spinach, rocket, watercress is nice
  • Spring onion (optional) – sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

If cooking the lentils and beetroot, put lentils in a pan, cover with lots of water (be generous, lentils guzzle water up), bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes until done. They should be tender but have a bit of bite. Drain and drizzle with olive oil. In another pan cover the beetroot (either whole or chopped in half) with water, bring to the boil then simmer until cooked through – generally 30-45 mins depending on size. Once done drain and leave to cool before removing skins and chopping into chunks. If you’ve never cooked fresh beetroot before be careful of it’s incredibly staining juices! Fresh beetroot is delicious, cheap and very easy to cook but it is stainy and faffy to peel. Vac pac beetroot is less of a faff (no boiling, peeling etc) but equally stainy and the texture is never as nice as fresh beetroot.

Once you have cooked lentils and beetroot assembling the salad is easy. Put leaves in a bowl, add the lentils, beetroot, crumbled goats cheese and spring onion if using (I leave it out for Lexie). Dress with oil and vinegar and season to taste!


Sausage and lentil casserole

We were given the leftover sausages from a family brunch yesterday and I thought they’d go nicely with roasted potatoes with thyme. We stayed with friends in Hampshire over Christmas and lovely Tammy made these really easy and delicious roasted sliced potatoes with onion – I can’t stop thinking about them (she served them with a glazed ham and Jamie Oliver Parsley sauce).

But Lexie doesn’t do potatoes unless they’re chips (weirdo) so I decided lentils would go further plus they are packed full of iron. They take a little bit of time to cook so I usually make a lot, it definitely tastes better after a day or too and it keeps well in the fridge. This dish will make a great lunch or dinner for Lexie throughout the week. The first time I had it was at my best friend Millie’s house – she did sausage and lentil casserole with yummy baked potatoes.

It was bubbling away while I did Lexie’s bedtime and once she was asleep we ate it calmly and in a very civilised fashion, with no interruptions and with a really nice glass of Rioja (Rioja Labarca Finca from Waitrose). We then had salad and cheese followed by chocolate chip cookies for pudding. These are delicious – Lewis pre-made and froze them in little balls. It’s amazing!! You put the little balls on a baking tray and they’re done in 10 minutes. A little bit addictive (oh I’ll just bake another cookie!).

Sausage and lentil casserole

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

  • Sausages
  • Green lentils – rinsed if need be
  • 2 small onions – chopped
  • 1 peeled carrot – 1/2 chopped into little bits, 1/2 chopped into big chunks
  • 1/2 stick chopped celery
  • Tin of tomatos
  • 1 glass of wine – optional
  • 2 rashers of chopped bacon
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 peeled chopped potato – fluffy maris piper type one, big chunks


Start by making a sofrito – this is the base for most Spanish pot cooking. A standard sofrito is just onion, celery and carrot but because I want bacon in this dish I started by frying the bacon first with olive oil in a heavy based pan, like a Le Creuset. Then add the onion, celery and finely chopped carrot and cook on a gentle heat, you want the onions to go squidgy and translucent not browned. Adding salt at this stage helps the onions release their juices but I left it out so the dish is less salty for Lex. Cook for minimum 20 minutes on this low heat. What my mum often does is cook the sofrito for 20 ish minutes then turn it off and leave it covered for 30 mins – 1 hour – the softer the onions the better.

Once you’re happy with your sofrito add your lentils, big chunks of carrot, stock cube, bay leaf, glass of wine and tomatoes. I used red wine but it doesn’t really matter. I do recommend sieving the tomatoes a bit to get rid of some of the juice, makes the sauce less acidy. The carrot is also natural sweetener which helps to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Top up with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered or partially covered. Do keep checking the lentils – they absorb loads of liquid – keep adding water if need be.

After 20 minutes add the potato. A little bit of potato added to lentils gives a lovely consistency, also helps reduce the tomatoes acidity and adds some welcome vitamin C. Cook for another 20-30 minutes and it should be done. Because my sausages were leftovers, I added them in with the potato, sliced, but I’ve made this dish many times before cooking the sausages from scratch, either fried or roasted in the oven and added at the end. It’s also delicious without any meat for anyone who is veggie and another day I’ll post my lentil and chorizo stew because that one really is also lovely without the chorizo.

  • A nice variation taught to me by my 97 year old granny-in-law is to make this exactly the same recipe but omitting the tomato, potato and wine (extra stock to make up the liquid). When the lentils are cooked add a spoonful of dijon mustard and stir around. Serve with chipolatas!