Marinated Lentils with Spiced Walnuts and Basil

Recipe by Molly Baz in Cook This Book  

Talk about an easy way to flavor your lentils!  The walnut oil is warm and earthy, until you get a hint of sweet from the golden raisins. Finishing this dish with good quality feta and literally lotsa basil balances the dish so it’s not too heavy. I love this even the next day, when the flavors really come together. I’d highly recommend enjoying this as your lunch or mid-afternoon snack. The fiber, plant-protein and heart healthy fat ensure you’ll be well fueled to conquer your day! 


  • 3 garlic cloves 
  • 1 ½ C packed basil leaves 
  • 1 (4-ounce) block feta cheese 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 ½ C black beluga lentils or French green lentils 
  • 1 C raw walnuts, almonds, or pecans 
  • ½ C extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander 
  • ½ C golden raisins 
  • 1/3 C red or white wine vinegar 


Cook the Lentils

  1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 2 quarts water and 2 tbsp salt to a boil.  
  1. Add 1 ½ C black beluga lentils, give them a good stir, and return the water to a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer while they cook. Simmer until they are cooked through and no longer toothsome, but not mushy, 15 – 35 minutes, depending on what type of lentils you have and how old they are. Taste them periodically to evaluate their doneness before draining them.  
  1. Drain the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer and let them cool in a strainer while you prepare the walnut dressing. Reserve the saucepan.  

Make the Spiced Walnut Oil

  1. Coarsely chop 1 C walnuts.  
  1. In the reserved saucepan, combine ½ C olive oil and the chopped walnuts and cook over medium-low heat, swirling the pan often so that they cook evenly, until golden brown, 4 – 6 minutes. Keep an eye on them, as they can turn from toasty to burn pretty quickly. Remove from the heat.  
  1. Add 1 Tbsp cumin seeds and 1 ½ tsp ground coriander and stir to combine. Using a microplane, immediately grate 3 garlic cloves into the still-hot oil; stir to combine.  
  1. Stir in 1/3 C golden raisins, 1/3 C red wine vinegar and 1 tsp salt.  

Dress the Lentils

  1. Add the drained lentils back to the medium saucepan with the walnut mixture and gently stir everything to combine. 
  1. Thinly slice 1 (4-ounce) block of feta into large ¼-inch-thick-planks.  
  1. Tear 1 ½ C basil leaves in half, or into small pieces if large, and toss them through the lentils. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Divide the lentils among 4 serving bowls. Top each with a few feta planks and black pepper and drizzle with more olive oil.  

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