Autumn lentils with slow roast toms, crumbs and pesto

The change in season and a cooler, calmer mood after the madness of summer always makes me want comfort food…

Call me crazy, but for this cook that means lentils! I love them for their satisfying toothsome quality and the fact that they effortlessly straddle both protein and vegetable (making them a nutrition power house). They are a cooks dream giving their unique savouriness and texture to warming soups, gently spiced dahls and these game changing lentils. Paired with my favourite (and no less game changing) slow roast tomatoes, a little pesto and some textural crumbs they are quite honestly one of my favourite things to eat. Cook your lentils like this and I promise you won’t look back. As for the sticky, umami rich tomatoes – make a large jar and see how long they last… I can guarantee it won’t be long before another batch is required!

Autumn Lentils

Shopping list:

Beluga lentils (or puy if you can’t get hold of them)
Large tomatoes
Bay leaves
Best quality extra virgin olive oil
Sherry vinegar (casked aged, or red wine vinegar if you can’t get hold of it)


Use a large handful of lentils per person, plus one extra, to give you a bit of leeway
Place lentils, a large tomato, a clove of garlic in its skin, a handful of the herbs, salt and enough cold water to cover well into a large saucepan
Bring it all to the boil and then gently simmer for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes (depending on the age of your lentils) – checking regularly – you want the lentils to be cooked through but still holding their shape
Once cooked, drain the lentils in a sieve and pull out the herbs and discard
Pull out the tomato and garlic and place in a small bowl
Replace the lentils in the warm saucepan and set aside
Once the tomato has cooled a little, peel it of its skin, along with the now soft garlic
Discard the skins and mash the tomato and the garlic together with a fork, mixing in a good splash of vinegar and olive oil, salt and black pepper
Toss this dressing back in with the lentils and gently stir everything together
Taste and adjust seasoning, sharpness with the vinegar and make sure there is enough olive oil to give it all a nice glossy looseness
Dressing the lentils in this way whilst warm will give them the best chance to absorb the flavours
Serve warm or save for another day in the fridge where they will last for 4-5 days
Once out of the fridge, bring to room temperature again and taste and adjust seasoning and sharpness to bring them back to life

Slow Roast Tomatoes

Shopping list:
Tomatoes (I like to use small ones but big are fine if you cut them a bit smaller)
Extra virgin olive oil
Thyme (or another fragrant woody herb like oregano or marjoram)
Salt and pepper
Maple syrup


Pre-heat the oven to 150C (130C fan)
Slice a couple of punnets or small tomatoes through the stalk (British when in season – Isle of Wight are the best)
Lay cut side up on a flat tray covered with grease proof paper
Toss with oil, salt, pepper and thyme sprigs (or experiment with other herbs – lemongrass makes a really unusual change)
Roast in the oven for anywhere between 1-2 hours depending on size and desired consistency
Once cooked to your liking, taste and adjust sweetness if needed with a little maple syrup
Store covered in a film of best quality extra virgin oil in the fridge for up to a week (if they last that long!)



Louisa Chapman-Andrews
Cook Folk

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