Cherry tomatoes with puy lentils, capers, and dill

Summer is served with this fresh, flavour-filled salad


Photo: Samantha Couzens Photography

I came up with this recipe whilst cooking on an early summer retreat near Sorrento in southern Italy a few years ago. The tomatoes were so incredible, I found myself continually searching for new ways to incorporate them into meals to keep the guests happy. They needed barely more than a helping hand from olive oil, salty capers, and dill to complement their flavour. The recipe followed me back home to London, and here I regularly make this with raw cherry tomatoes or best of the season larger tomatoes on the vine, to try and replicate the taste of the Italian sun-drenched tomato.

For a variation, substitute the tomatoes with roasted peppers or aubergines.

Serves: 2 as a main; 4 as a side
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes


100g puy lentils, rinsed

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 plump garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp capers

300g cherry tomatoes, halved, or large tomatoes sliced into wedges
25g bunch of dill, fronds finely chopped

A handful of basil leaves salt and pepper


  • First cook your lentils. Place lentils in a saucepan with 300ml (3 x the lentil weight) and a bay leaf. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 22 minutes, until the lentils are soft enough to eat but retain some bite in the centre. Turn off the heat, sit for 5 minutes, then drain, shaking off as much excess water as possible. Discard the bay leaf.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, toss the warm lentils with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and capers, then allow the lentils to cool off so they’re no longer steaming before stirring in the fresh tomatoes and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Plate up on a serving platter and finish with a few basil leaves and another drizzle of olive oil.

Adapted from It Starts with Veg (Pavilion)

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