I’m sure I did. Positive. I did.

Butternut and lentil salad with harissa

You know when you could have sworn that you’ve done something and you have clear memories. Of. Exactly. What. You. Did.

Well, I had that experience with this a Moroccan Lentil and Butternut Salad recipe. I was convinced that I’d written about it. A long time ago. Because, I realised, I’ve been making this salad for well nigh eight years, and quite regularly. The first time, it was part of a Christmas spread when we had vegan diners, and quite a long time before plant-based eating had become quite the thing that it is. It came from a magazine but, as is my penchant, I’ve made it my own. I now realise that I’ve been making it since before I started blogging in 2016.

Last Saturday morning, ahead of the market, I posted this on my Instagram account advertising my vegan offerings for that morning’s market in McGregor.

Butternut and lentil salad with harissa

Moroccan lentil and butternut salad and vegan garlic mayo (a non-authentic aioli – depending who you speak to) on offer at the Saturday market

In my dreams

In my IG post, I explained briefly what it was, adding that it included homemade Harissa.

Then Katie J asked if I’d shared the Harissa recipe.

Nope. But I shall.

As a nutrition coach and fitness trainer, Katie’s a whizz at plant-based food, herself (find her – and her recipes – on WordPress or as @plantstoplanks on Hive).

So certain was I, that I’d “done” the lentil salad, that I trawled this blog and my crypto blog where things were saved after my earstwhile host absconded.


I searched all my pics – even the “lost ones” – thats another story.


Clearly, I’d dreamt all that.

Harissa notes

Katie’s question was, however, the nudge I needed to tidy up the Harissa. That, I knew, I’d not done because it was still on a scrappy piece of paper complete with crossings out and undecipherable notes. It had been on my mental (very) “to do” list. For a couple of years. Again, I’ve made it my own. When I searched online for for a recipe, I discovered that some:

  • include garlic, others don’t
  • liquidise or make a puree, others don’t
  • include tomatoes, others don’t
  • are hotter (with chillies, cayenne, etc.) than others, which really is a personal preference.

All include roasted or charred bell peppers, chillies and spices – cumin, coriander and fennel. In considering my requirements and the recipes which call I leave the tomatoes. One can always add them if need be.

Butternut and lentil salad with harissa

All of that said, Harissa really is a simple, spicy roasted pepper (and chilli) paste. It’s flavour is distinctly North African and Middle Eastern. My last batch was finished off in the broad bean burgers. Because the Moroccan lentil and butternut salad benefits from a goodly amount, I had to make a new batch.

Butternut and lentil salad with harissa

About 500ml Harissa. Stored in repurposed jars. The lid of the large jar is scruffy which explains the equally scruffy photo. Note to self: take another, prettier photo. Don’t wait years…

Stores well

I make a batch of Harissa once or twice a year. My notes say that it can be stored for up to a month in the fridge. I have, however, stored it successfully for much longer by doing two things:

  • gradually decanting into a smaller, sterilised jars as I use it.
  • covering the top of the harissa with olive oil which effectively “seals” in the red paste (also a great way to extend the life of a pesto).

You can download a PDF of the recipe here.

Dream becomes reality

This lentil and butternut salad is, like so many of the things I make, versatile. It consists of roasted butternut and lentils with a “dressing” of sauteed onion, garlic, harissa and tomato paste, with fresh parsley and coriander (cilantro) added last.

Butternut and lentil salad with harissa

Lentil and butternut salad served with sides of couscous and a mixed salad

It’s a meal on its own and it can be eaten warm or cold although flavours do develop if it’s allowed to stand over night. If you do that, and want to eat it warm, reserve the fresh herbs to add just before serving.

You can download a PDF of the recipe here.

A few last things about this salad:

  • If vegan doesn’t do it for you, a dollop of tzatziki or a crumbling of feta cheese adds a different and delicious dimension.
  • It has featured on our Sunday Supper menu and sells well at the local market.
  • It keeps well in the fridge. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it would freeze satsfactorily – without the fresh herbs.
  • As I mentioned, it benefits from standing which also makes it a great make-in-advance dish that can also stretch over a week. It not only saves cooking but because one doesn’t have to finish, one doesn’t feel as though one is eating lentil salad for seven days in a row.

Now, I know I did!

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain. Click on the image below to sign up –

Image: @traciyork

In yet another aspect of my life –

English writing, research and online tutoring services
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here