Spiced Lentils with Pumpkin

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There are few truly vegetarian recipes in Moroccan cooking, but this is one of them, and a delicious and nutritious one at that. The earthy flavour of lentils combines with the sweetness of pumpkin, the flavours melding with traditional herbs and spices.


  • 275 g (10 oz/ 1 1/2 cups) green lentils
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) firm pumpkin (winter squash) or butternut pumpkin (squash)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

Pick over the lentils and discard any damaged ones and any stones. Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Tip into a saucepan and add 1 litre (35 fl oz/ 4 cups) of cold water. Bring to the boil, skim the surface if necessary, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes crossways. Squeeze out the seeds and coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl down to the skin, discarding the skin. Set the grated tomato aside. Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 in) dice. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic, cook for a few seconds, then stir in the cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper or harissa.

Cook for 30 seconds, then add the paprika, grated tomato, tomato paste, sugar, half of the parsley and coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Add the lentils and pumpkin and stir well. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin and lentils are tender. Adjust the seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and coriander and serve hot or warm with crusty bread.

The Little Moroccan Cookbook
Murdoch Books
RRP: $19.99 – Buy on Booktopia for $17.95 

Prices displayed are correct at time of publication. Prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed on the YOURLifeChoices website may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the YOURLifeChoices website and Booktopia website does occur, Booktopia website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.

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Total Comments: 3
  1. 0

    Thanks for this truly vegan! recipe. At last!

  2. 0

    I agree. Too many cooking shows and articles focus on unnecessary meat inclusions when we have so many vegetables and beans etc to choose from.

  3. 0

    Great they are promoting plant based recipes, but you do not need the oil and sugar with all those spices, if you do use oil use coconut oil which is the only one that does not go rancid. And use honey instead of sugar if you need to sweeten it, but I really don’t know why it even has the sugar in it.



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