Lentils with onion and garlic

I love this simple, humble lentil dish. You can take your fancy French de puy or black beluga lentils this needs only needs plain brown lentils, which I have a newfound appreciation for, in the way they disintegrate every so slightly to make a tasty gravy for this stew. This dish can be served with various toppings sauted mushrooms, slow roasted tomatoes or peppers but my favorite, is gingery sauteed greens and goats cheese.

We are currently in an endless lock down in Sydney, a lock down some would say was brought about by the hubris and complacency of our state and federal governments. For the past year, many Sydneysiders have looked down on the other states with a definite sense superiority as other cities went in and out of lockdown. Sydney with its gold standard contact tracing and superior systems didn’t need to do city wide lock downs, we could take a more nuanced, targeted approach.

How wrong we were. Only now, is the government telling us with any kind of urgency, we need to get vaccinated. But the only readily available vaccine is AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine, is a perfectly decent vaccine but needs 12 weeks between jabs for maximum efficacy. I won’t have have my second AstraZeneca jab until the end of August and it will be two weeks after that I will officially be fully vaccinated. Even with a rapid uptake it will be months and months before people are fully vaccinated. If we are relying on getting vaccination rates up I can’t see us getting out lock down until Christmas if we’re lucky.

It is what it is, as my son is fond of saying when asked about how he feels about school going or not going back for his HSC trials. In Sydney we need to bunker down and eat our humble pie or in this case humble lentils and get on with it – It is what it is. Stay safe Sydney, stay humble and get vaccinated if you can!

Lentils with onion and garlic

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 140 grams) cut in fine half rings
  • 1 dried chilli or a generous pinch of chilli flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 190 grams brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges
  1. Heat oil in medium size saucepan to medium/ high heat, put in onion rings adjust heat and fry until onion is reddish brown and crispy. Remove onion with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  2. In the remaining oil, throw in chilli and garlic and let sizzle for 10 seconds then put lentils and about 700mls of water in pot. Bring to the boil, turn heat to low and simmer gently for 30-35 minutes with lid partially on until lentils are tender. Check occasionally and add more water if lentils are too dry, it is a moist lentil stew not a soup.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving sprinkle crispy fried onions over the top.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges, toasted or crusty bread, sauteed greens and a dollop of yogurt or crumbled feta or goats cheese.


  1. My kind of dish. Tasty and not too much work involved. I often toss lentils into my vegetable soup.

    You needn’t be humble, Elizabeth. We had over 800 people dead last year because our government made a mess of hotel quarantine, didn’t apologise and didn’t take responsibility for their action.

    When the Federal government offered ADF support in 2020 Andrews rejected it then lied about the offer, before finally accepting less than was offered. We were locked up for months last year and many of our small businesses were decimated.
    Your government kept things open and the economy humming. I think that it misjudged how fast the delta strain spread. And that was disastrous. Hope things improve for you soon. xx

    • I hope things improve for all of us. I’m trying to get into more of a lockdown groove get out of the lethargy. There are so many people doing it really tough so it feels a bit sooky to complain, after all I live in a house with a garden and my family.

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