Recipes to get the pulse racing

Along with pasta, pulses have also proven to be popular with people preparing themselves self-isolation – and, after a generous helping of lentil and potato curry, most probably social distancing, too, if you know what I mean!

Low in calories and highly nutritious, lentils, legumes and pulses can shine in their own right, and if you are new to preparing pulses, the take a look at the recipes below and prepare your loved ones a dish which will delight them all.

From a classic curry, to Moroccan-style chicken, to the family favourite, a delicious lasagne, if you’re stuck for inspiration on what meal to make, then look no further than these six recipes. Stay healthy and happy cooking.

Halloumi with lemony lentils, chickpeas & beets

The perfect vegetarian option, a golden-brown homemade halloumi on its own is tasty enough, but why not add some lemony lentils, salad, chickpeas and beets to give it a real kick of added flavour. The best part is that it can be prepped and cooked in just 45 minutes.


200g puy lentils

2 lemons

1 red onion, finely sliced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp capers, very roughly chopped

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

250g cooked beetroot, cut into matchsticks

½ small pack parsley, roughly chopped


Cook the lentils in a pan of boiling water for 20-25 mins or until just done. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from one lemon into a bowl. Add the onion and scrunch together with a pinch of salt to pickle slightly. Set aside. Finely zest the remaining lemon and set aside for the halloumi. Squeeze the juice into a jam jar or jug. Add the oil with a pinch of seasoning and the capers – shake well and set aside. When the lentils are ready, drain and tip into a large serving bowl with the chickpeas. Toss with the dressing straight away, then toss through the beets, parsley, pickled onions and their juice. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the halloumi for 1-2 mins each side or until golden brown. Toss with the lemon zest, then place on top of your salad to serve.

Red lentil & chorizo soup

For many people, if you want to improve the flavour of a dish, just add chorizo. The hearty soup is full of flavour and healthy meal, too. It’s easy to make and will go down as one popular treat with the family.


1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

200g cooking chorizo, peeled and diced

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

Pinch of cumin seeds

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling

Pinch of golden caster sugar

Small splash red wine vinegar

250g red lentil

2 x 400g cans chopped tomato

850ml chicken stock

Plain yoghurt, to serve


Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chorizo and cook until crisp and it has released its oils. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Fry the onion, carrots and cumin seeds for 10 mins until soft and glistening, then add the garlic and fry for 1 min more. Scatter over the paprika and sugar, cook for 1 min, then splash in the vinegar. Simmer for a moment, then stir in the lentils, and pour over the tomatoes and chicken stock.

Give it a good stir, then simmer for 30 mins or until the lentils are tender. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth-ish but still chunky. Serve in bowls, drizzled with yogurt and olive oil, scattered with the chorizo and a sprinkling of paprika.

Moroccan-style chicken with lentils

If you’re tired of cooking plain and boring dishes, then not to worry. This vibrant and colourful cuisine contains the flavours of North Africa and goes perfectly with rice or couscous depending on what you fancy. Who says cooking is dull?


2 tbsp olive oil

8 skinless boneless chicken thighs

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander seeds

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1 large onion, finely sliced

50g split red lentil

400g can chopped tomato

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

700ml chicken stock

1 cinnamon stick

200g whole dried apricot

Handful mint leaves, to serve (optional)


Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Rub 1 tbsp olive oil into the chicken thighs. Mix the garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika together, then rub all over the chicken thighs on both sides.

Heat a large flameproof casserole, add the chicken thighs and cook over a medium heat for 5 mins until golden on both sides. You might need to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of the casserole. Set the chicken aside. Turn down the heat, add the remaining oil and fry the onion for 5 mins until softened.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients, apart from the mint and bring to the boil. Place the chicken thighs on top and pour in any juices. Cover and cook for 1½ hrs, until the meat is tender, and the sauce thickened. Can be cooled and frozen at this stage for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge, then gently warm through. Scatter with fresh mint leaves and serve with couscous or rice.

Spicy root & lentil casserole

Nothing reflects home comforts quite like a classic spicy root and lentil casserole. The potatoes in this recipe challenge the spicy flavours beautifully, making for a dream veggie dish which is both nutritious and appetising.


2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

700g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

4 carrots, thickly sliced

2 parsnips, thickly sliced

2 tbsp curry paste or powder

1 litre/1 ¾ pints vegetable stock

100g red lentils

A small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Low-fat yoghurt and naan bread, to serve


Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Tip in the potatoes, carrots and parsnips, turn up the heat and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are golden.

Stir in the curry paste or powder, pour in the stock and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the lentils, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir in most of the coriander, season and heat for a minute or so. Top with yogurt and the rest of the coriander. Serve with naan bread.

Lentil Lasagne

A dish known for its Italian heritage but is loved by those all around the world, a lentil lasagne is packed with vitamins and makes vegan cooking easy. Prepped in 15 minutes, this bake uses cauliflower and soya milk, topped off with a filling of lentils and creamy sauce.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 x 400g cans lentils, drained, rinsed

1 tbsp cornflour

400g can chopped tomato

1 tsp mushroom ketchup

1 tsp chopped oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tsp vegetable stock powder

2 cauliflower heads, broken into florets

2 tbsp unsweetened soya milk

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

9 dried egg-free lasagne sheets


Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion carrot and celery, and gently cook for 10-15 mins until soft. Add the garlic, cook for a few mins, then stir in the lentils and cornflour. Add the tomatoes plus a can full of water, the mushroom ketchup, oregano, stock powder and some seasoning. Simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water for 10 mins or until tender. Drain, then purée with the soya milk using a hand blender or food processor. Season well and add the nutmeg. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Spread a third of the lentil mixture over the base of a ceramic baking dish, about 20 x 30cm. Cover with a single layer of lasagne, snapping the sheets to fit. Add another third of the lentil mixture, then spread a third of the cauliflower purée on top, followed by a layer of pasta. Top with the last third of lentils and lasagne, followed by the remaining purée. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35-45 mins, removing the foil for the final 10 mins of cooking.

Lentil & sweet potato curry

Nothing beats a good curry, which is why you can’t go wrong with adding some lentils and sweet potatoes to it. Prepped and cooked in just 35 minutes, it’s high in flavour and can be served with yoghurt and naan bread to make it feel like you’re dining out at a fancy restaurant but in your own home.


2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds (any colour)

1 tbsp medium curry powder

100g red or green lentil, or a mixture

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

500ml vegetable stock

400g can chopped tomato

400g can chickpea, drained

¼ small pack coriander (optional)

Natural yoghurt and naan bread, to serve


Heat 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil in a large pan, add 1 chopped red onion and cook for a few mins until softened. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1 tbsp medium curry powder and cook for 1 min more, then stir in 100g red or green lentils (or a mixture), 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks, 500ml vegetable stock and a 400g can chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 mins until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender. Add a drained 400g can chickpeas, then heat through. Season, sprinkle with ¼ small pack coriander, if you like, and serve with seasoned yogurt and naan bread.