Spiced Split Pea Dahl – from The Greedy Wordsmith’s kitchen

Expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith, has been writing a few recipes to share with you all.  Claire is a whizz when it comes to food history and spends her time running cookery workshops (if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make proper bread, go see Claire!) and writing blogs and copy for a wide range of food businesses.

Find out more over at her website www.greedywordsmith.com

Over to Claire…

Humanity has a long history with dried peas. For the Anglo Saxons, peas and beans acted as the main protein source between the rare occasions that meat was available. They still act as a vital food stuff on the Indian sub-continent where a large percentage of the population honour a vegetarian diet as part of their religious tenet.

The high levels of protein, dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates work hard to help you feel full for longer and ward off any snacking tendencies later in the day. Nutritional analysis also shows split peas to be a great source of thiamine (B1) and many of the minerals required for a healthy life.

This split pea dahl recipe makes a great lunch option with rice or flatbreads. It is a beautiful example of how we can create delicious meals with a few simple ingredients and only a little time.

Serves 3 (main) or 6 (side)


300g yellow split peasTurmeric photo

A bay leaf

2 brown onions

2-3 cloves of garlic

Inch long piece of fresh root ginger

1 green chilli

1 ½ tbsp. of cumin seeds

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of garam masala

Organic ghee (dairy-free or vegan? Opt for cold pressed rapeseed oil)

Salt and pepper to taste



Before making the dahl – place the split peas in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or at least four hours.

Drain and rinse the peas. Place them and the bay leaf in a pan with one litre of cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer gently for around 35 minutes or until the peas are cooked through and can be squashed with a wooden spoon.

Prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and finely slice the onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Dice the green chilli.

With a little ghee / rapeseed oil – fry the onion and cumin seeds before adding the garlic and ginger. Fry for a further five minutes or until golden brown.

Take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break down the split peas. Add a little hot water until it reaches the desired consistency. Return your dahl back to a gentle heat and stir in the turmeric, garam masala and onion mixture. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if required and drizzle over a little cold pressed rapeseed before serving.



Spicy Lentil & Coconut Soup

gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, egg-free

A warming soup that can be as spicy as you fancy…

1 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 glove garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 teaspoon of finely chopped red chilli

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cardomom

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups tinned coconut milk

handful of coriander for garnishing

allspice, for garnishing

Cover the lentils with boiling water and leave to soak for 15 mins.  Heat the oil in a large pan then add garlic, onion, green pepper, ginger, chilli, spices and corainder and cook gently for 3-4 mins.

Add the drained lentils, stir well, add the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins.  Add the coconut milk, stir well and continue to cook for 45 mins.

Garnish with the coriander and allspice, serve and enjoy!

Recipe from”Vegetarian Cooking” by Jo Anne Calabria (Murdoch Books).

Shepherd’s Pie – with a twist

gluten-free, dairy free

A slight twist on the original classic, this dish packs in more plant protein and immune boosting beta carotene making it a great winter warmer…

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped,

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 large carrots, finely chopped

250g minced lamb

400g tinned brown lentils OR dried brown lentils (you may need slightly less in weight of the dried as they plump up when cooked)

150ml beef or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon flour – this can be plain flour or a gluten-free flour

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1tablespoon gluten-free Worcester sauce

1 sprig of fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon of dried

1 large sweet potato

2 large regular potatoes (or equivalent in smaller sized potatoes)

2 teaspoons coconut oil

Peel and chop the regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Put in a large pan with boiling water and cook until soft.  In another pan gently heat the coconut oil and cook the onion, celery and garlic until soft.  Add the mince and fry until browned.  Add the flour; stir until combined then add the remaining vegetables and lentils and cook for 3-4 mins.  Add the stock, Worcester sauce, rosemary and tomato puree and cook until thickened.  If using dry lentils, you may need to add more stock, just keep checking as it cooks.  Once the mixture has cooked (about 30 mins) spoon into a shallow ovenproof dish.  Drain and mash the potatoes adding butter or soya spread and seasoning as desired.  Spoon the mash over the meat mixture and bake in the oven at 180* / Gas 4 for 30-40 mins until the potatoes are lightly browned.  Serve with steamed broccoli or peas.