Gill Meller’s lentils cooked with garlic, chilli + rosemary

by | Jan 11, 2023


 Serves 3 – 4 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • a pinch of chilli flakes, plus extra to serve
  • 175g (6oz) red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 litre (35fl oz) vegetable stock
  • a small bunch of curly kale, leaves stripped from the stalk and roughly chopped
  • a knob of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, to serve

We’re so happy to have got hold of Gill Meller’s latest book Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating and even happier to be able to share a recipe from it. 

Gill’s book is a celebration of the joys of cooking and eating outside. Here’s to a lot more of it this year including this simple and filling idea for an outdoor breakfast that works just as easily inside on the stove.

This is a whole lot of everything all at once. It’s a fullsize breakfast, an intrepid lunch and a satisfying supper, and it’s very, very big on flavour. All that said, I love its humble, unpretentious feel and it proves a point: everyday ingredients can really pack a punch when you bring them all together in a certain way. The cornerstones here are the rosemary and chilli. These are the flavours that bind everything else together and carry them along. Sometimes I like to leave the eggs out and serve the lentils just as they are, or as a side to something meaty; they go beautifully with some grilled lamb.


  1. Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over the fire. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and, when it’s hot, add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes, as well as a little salt and pepper. Cook gently for 8–10 minutes – don’t let it all sizzle too quickly or the mixture will catch on the bottom.
  2. Stir in the lentils and the rosemary sprigs and pour in the veg stock. Cook the lentils over a low heat. They just want to simmer gently.
  3. When the lentils have been cooking for about 20 minutes, add the kale. You might need to place a lid on the pan to help the kale wilt down before you can stir it in.
  4. When the kale is tender and the lentils are beginning to break down and thicken (another 15–20 minutes or so), give them a taste – they’ll probably need plenty of salt and pepper. The lentils need to be thick enough that you can make four wells in them using the back of a spoon.
  5. Make the wells and drop a dot of butter into each, then crack in an egg. Season the top of the eggs and pop a lid on the pan. Cook for 6–7 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft. Scatter over a little chopped parsley and a few chilli flakes and serve at once.

RECIPE: Gill Meller from his latest book Outside. 


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