Green Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress


(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe in Plenty)

Can be served warm or at room temperature.


Serves 4 generously as a vegetarian main dish, or 6 – 8 as a side dish.


1 cup green (French or puy) lentils, rinsed and drained

4 cups watercress, thick stalks removed (about 4 bunches)

2/3 cup Italian parsley

2/3 cup light olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, peeled

Salt and black pepper

1 large bunch of thin asparagus spears

3½ oz Manchego cheese, broken into chunks (or substitute pecorino)

Walnut oil to finish (optional – I didn’t use it)

Lemon wedges for serving (optional – I didn’t use)


1. Put the lentils in a pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the lentils are just cooked.

2. Put 2 cups of the watercress, the parsley, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until it is smooth. Pour the dressing into a large bowl.

3. When the lentils are cooked, drain them and stir the warm lentils into the dressing. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper if necessary.

4. Wash the asparagus and trim the tough ends off. Cut the spears into 2 – 2½-inch lengths. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl of lentils.

5. Toss together the lentils, asparagus, the remaining 2 cups of watercress, and some of the crumbled cheese. Garnish with the rest of the cheese.

6. Optional: At serving time drizzle with some walnut oil and serve with lemon wedges.