Warm spiced lentils with cavolo nero

Warm spiced lentils with cavolo nero recipe

  • Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish
  • Easy

A warming and versatile mix of protein-packed lentils and fresh greens that makes the perfect accompaniment for lamb, chicken or fish, but can work just as well as a hearty meal on its own. Photograph Andrew Montgomery.


This is such a versatile dish, and one that really makes the most of the intense, slightly bitter flavour of cavolo nero. It is quite unusual to see these earthy ingredients combined with exotic spices, but it really does work. I like this as a main course, but you can also use it as a side dish to accompany lamb, chicken, sausages or even a substantial fish such as sea bass. I use puy lentils for their nutty flavour and excellent firm texture – the little gleaming dark greeny-grey pebbles look so beautiful with the black leaves of the kale. Make this with vegetable stock if you prefer, for a completely vegetarian dish.



  • Dried puy lentils 400g
  • Leek 1 large, trimmed and diced
  • Celery stalk 1 large, finely chopped
  • Coconut oil 2 tbsp
  • Cavolo nero 200g, large stems removed and leaves sliced
  • Garlic cloves 2, chopped, grated or crushed
  • Ground turmeric 1 tsp
  • Cardamon pods 1 tsp, remove seeds and crush lightly
  • Wholegrain mustard 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock 1 litre
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Flat leaf parsley or coriander Handful, finely chopped, plus a few whole leaves to garnish
  • Yoghurt to serve


  • Step 1

    Heat the oil in a pan over low heat, add the leek, celery, garlic, turmeric and cardamom and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the lentils, stock and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Uncover the pan and stir through the cavolo nero. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring gently now and then, so as not to break up the lentils.

  • Step 3

    Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir through the mustard and parsley or coriander.

  • Step 4

    Serve warm, with a good dollop of yogurt and garnish with some extra herbs.

This recipe is taken from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, £24.95).