Recipe: Egyptian Lentils

This is a lovely dish that I’ve been having for breakfast recently. I first came across it an old vegetarian recipe book, where it was called ‘Egyptian-style Lentils’. Having never been to Egypt, I can’t vouch for its origins, but it tastes great!

Ingredients (4 portions)

225g puy or green lentils
1-2 large red chilis (optional) de-seeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper
2-4 garlic cloves
2tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
Grated zest of half a lemon
1 onion
4-8 eggs
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish


  • Rinse the lentils and then boil in plenty of water for 30-40 minutes until well cooked (For bonus points, soak them overnight the night before, and then cook – they’ll be easier to digest and more nutritious) You can also use precooked lentils, in which case, just heat them up.
  • About 10 minutes before the lentils are ready, bring a pan of water to the boil and then gently lower the eggs into the water. Simmer for 6-7 minutes for soft boiled eggs, or 8-9 for hard boiled, depending how you like them.
  • While the eggs cook, fry the onion and red pepper in a little oil until they begin to soften. Add the chilli (if using), garlic and the spices. Gently fry for another few minutes until the garlic is cooked but not brown. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine.
  • Once everything is cooked, you can serve. Plate the lentils first, top with the onion and pepper mix, and then have the egg(s) on the side, halved.
  • Sprinkle with parsley

Variations, pre-cooking and notes:

This is also very good with a side of greens. I normally cook up some frozen spinach for ease (Incidentally, for anyone following the slow-carb diet, a lentil-egg-spinach combination is what Tim Ferriss recommends as the perfect breakfast)

You can omit the chili if you don’t like spicy food, but don’t leave out the lemon zest or parsley, which really lift the whole dish.

The lentils and onion/pepper mix can be cooked ahead of time, then mixed into individual portions and frozen. Then all you have to do for an easy breakfast is take one out the freezer the night before, warm it in a pan with a tiny splash of water, and boil an egg or 2 to go with it. But whatever you do, don’t be tempted to freeze boiled eggs, they turn to rubbery nastiness!