Lentils with macaroni

For Egypt's vegetarians this highly spiced dish is a protein staple. On their own, lentils do not contain a lot of protein, but combined with the wheat in the pasta, they make a good protein dish that is low in fat.

Lentils with macaroni


  • 1¼ cups (245 g) French–style green (puy) lentils, rinsed
  • 2½ tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, about 200 g, very thinly sliced
  • sugar
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes, about 400 g each
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 200 g macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander or parsley
  • salt and pepper


  1. Put the lentils in a heavy–based saucepan and pour in enough water to cover them by 7.
  2. 5 cm.
  3. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes, skimming the surface as necessary.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30–40 minutes or until tender.
  5. Drain well and keep warm.
  6. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non–stick frying pan over a high heat.
  7. Add the onion and stir to coat with the oil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.
  8. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar, increase the heat and continue cooking, stirring, until the onion becomes dark brown and crisp.
  9. Immediately pour onto paper towel to drain, and set aside.
  10. Heat 2 teaspoons of the remaining oil in a large saucepan.
  11. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds, stirring.
  12. Stir in the turmeric and continue frying for a further 30 seconds.
  13. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and add a pinch of sugar.
  14. Bring to the boil.
  15. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens a little.
  16. Season to taste.
  17. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan.
  18. Stir in the cumin, ground coriander and cayenne pepper, and fry for about 30 seconds, stirring.
  19. Add the lentils and stir in seasoning to taste.
  20. Keep warm over a very low heat.
  21. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  22. Drain well.
  23. Spoon the pasta onto a serving platter, and top with the spiced lentils and the tomato sauce.
  24. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and top with the crisp onions.
  25. Serve at once.

Serves 4
Preparation: 10-15 minutes
Cooking: about 1 hour


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