Lentils or Lentejas with Olive Oil is a go-to high protein, high fibre, iron rich recipe from the Mediterranean Diet. It's very simple to make, it tastes great and is filling too. Here's how to do it:

Lentejas with olive oil

Lentejas is the Spanish name for lentils. But, if you are reading this in northern Europe or the USA, you might be used to the idea of lentils as a reddish mush? 

That will be because you are mostly familiar with 'red lentils', whereas, the typical lentils found in Spain are 'brown lentils' in other parts of Europe. 

Or, more specifically, they are called 'lentejas pardinas'. So, put down the red lentils and find some brown lentils instead, like these.

Brown lentils - or lentejas requires only three ingredients 

1. 250g of brown (pardina) lentils (pre-soaked for 3 hours)
2. lots of vegetables  (think root crops and green beans - not large leafy vegetables) and some herbs

3. Serriana olive oil

Fry the vegetables until partially cooked. Then, add the pre-soaked and drained brown lentils and fry for a couple of minutes. Finally, add 900ml of water and leave to simmer for 35 minutes.

Of course, we like to make our recipes more complex (and more flavoursome than that) - so, here's how to ready do it.

(But, I wanted to show you how simple this recipe is - and why its a great 'busy weekday' dish)

How to cook Lentejas with olive oil


250g (dry weight) of brown (pardina) lentils
30g of Serriana olive oil
100g of red pepper, chopped
2 -3 cloves of garlic
100g of chopped onion
200g of hard vegetables. Typically, 50g of carrots, 150g of broad or green beans (if you don't have fresh green beans, you can always swap for frozen peas instead - but add peas 5 minutes before the end - they don't need much cooking)
900g of vegetable stock (or 900g of water and vegetable stock cube)
40g of short grained rice
1 tbsp of paprika (spicy)
1 tbsp of ground cumin
Ground black pepper
Splash of apple vinegar (or balsamic vinegar or similar) - this is instead of salt
Fresh parsley (or coriander or any slightly spicy green leafy herb)


Step 1: Soak the brown lentils. Find a bowl, add the lentils and fill with fresh water above the line of the lentils. You may see some bubbles form on top of the liquid - these are starch. Scrape these off and discard. You can also rinse and replace the water to reduce starch, if you have time.

Step 2. Prepare your vegetables, and then heat 30g of Serriana olive oil in a large heavy pan, before adding all the vegetables and frying gently for about 8 minutes

Step 3. Add your spices and continue to gently fry for another 5 minutes or so.

Step 4. Drain and add your pre-soaked brown lentils to the pan and fry for 1 minute.

Step 5. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to simmer.

Step 6. Add short grained rice and the vinegar.

Step 7. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 8. Top with fresh parsley (or similar) and serve.

The great thing about lentils or lentejas with olive oil is that you can use any (hard / firm) vegetables that need to be eaten up! As mentioned, if you lack fresh vegetables, you can use frozen ones - like peas. 

However, these may not need much cooking, so with peas, I add them when there is just 5 minutes left.

If you are sitting down to eat - then decant everything into a large white bowl - like this one! It makes the dish look special - even though it was actually quick and easy (so long as you pre-soaked your lentils, that is).

Lentejas with olive oil

If you enjoyed this dish - check out more olive oil recipes here.

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