Lentils with garlic and olive oil

October 7, 2009  •  Category:


This is yet another lentil dish. This one is from the Hermel region in the north of Lebanon. I picked up the recipe in Chef Ramzi’s The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon and wanted to try it because, well, I love garlic, olive oil and lentils.

Easy and fast and healthy recipe.

I adapted the recipe slightly, as it called for 1/2 cup of crushed garlic (!!!!) which even for an inveterate garlic lover sounded a bit excessive.


  • 1 cup of lentils
  • 20  cloves peeled and mashed in a mortar with a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste. Black pepper, a dash of allspice (optional)
  • 3 cups of water to cook the lentils in.


  1. Cook the lentils in a pot with a bit of water until done. Add the black pepper and allspice if using.  If using one cup of lentils, then 3 cups of water should suffice. The idea is not to have a lot of water left when they are cooked, just enough to keep them moistened.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the mashed garlic. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic is golden. Pour the garlic and olive oil in the pot with the lentils and stir to mix.
  3. Taste the seasoning. I like to add uncooked garlic in addition to the fried garlic but this is strictly your call.
  4. Serve warm with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or green onion as a garnish.

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To add yet more garlic, I placed a few cloves in a small pan covered in foil and poured a couple tablespoons of olive oil and roasted them in a 300f oven for 30 minutes or so.

Chef Ramzi points out that local folks also cook this dish by adding tahini and lemon juice after adding the garlic and olive oil. I tried it and did not care for it.


8 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A fantastic side dish! i love lentils and Lebanese food!



  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    This looks lovely and I should think most people would have all of the ingredients in their cupboard for this! 🙂

  3. Cris says:

    I like so much your blog!
    Thanks for posting recipes from Chef Ramzi’s Book, The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon.
    I am from São Paulo, where Esfiha und Kibeh are at Home… and of course I love the lebanese kitchen.
    I have also this book; unfortunatily the “brazilian” tradution ist very, very, bad, with some french words and false name for some ingredients. Now I kann compare some disches…

    • Joumana says:

      Thanks so much Cris
      I intend to try all the recipes in his book! Even the English translation is not that great and the recipes are sketchy sometimes, but at least you can get the general idea. I have a lot of respect for what Chef Ramzi did because it had not been done before, at least not in that breath, and that is a good thing! I hear that there is a huge Lebanese community in Sao Paulo and I once watched a show on LBC-1 in which Chef Ramzi went there and visited the Lebanese club and met some folks at the club.

  4. Mod Mekkawi says:

    I suggest using French lentils, they hold their shape well after cooking. The greenish lentils can easily turn mushy if overcooked. Place the dry French lentils in a bow and cover with boiling water, let stand covered for 1/2 hour. Finish cooking in water over low heat, covered for 1-3 minutes max. Ready to use in salads, soups, or prepared like fool madamass..

  5. Elle says:

    Thank you!! I kept finding “simple” recipes with about 20 ingredients, and finally googled what I had: lentils, olive oil, garlic. And look what I found! A very fortunate discovery, and I plan on returning again soon.

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