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Many of my recipes come about through a need to use up a motley collection of ingredients in the fridge or cupboard and this is one of them. A packet of dried green lentils and some ready-to-eat dried dates had been lurking in the cupboard and were crying out to be used. I also picked up a recipe for super-quick preserved lemons from a friend and was eager to put it to use. Jars of preserved lemons are prohibitively expensive and this version is a fantastically easy and economic alternative.


Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 carrots, halved length-ways and cut into bite-sized chunks

  • 2 turnips, cut into bite-sized chunks

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

  • 140g/5oz/¾ cup green lentils

  • 875ml/30fl oz/3½ cups hot vegetable stock

  • 115g/4oz ready-to eat pitted dried dates, halved

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemons

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

From  Veggienomics

Watkins Media, 2014


Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Turn the heat down slightly and add the carrots, turnips, garlic and coriander seeds and cook, part-covered, for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the carrots have softened slightly.


Stir in the ground spices and chilli flakes then add the lentils. Pour in the stock, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, part-cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are almost tender.


Stir in the dates and the preserved lemons and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add a splash more stock or water, if the tagine needs it. Season with salt and pepper, scatter the coriander over and serve in bowls with couscous by the side.

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