Puy Lentil, Roast Red pepper & Goat’s cheese salad

By Jules Kane, chef @Crucialfood and part of The Cookbook Festival Team.

Crucial Cafe offers a range of healthy meals and snacks at the Hogarth Centre, with many vegetarian and vegan options. This is Jules’ recipe for a simple and nutritional lunch option, with a zingy pesto made from wild garlic – which you may find you have in your garden at the moment.

Serves 4


4 red peppers – deseeded & roughly chopped

175g Puy lentils

1 stick of celery

1 clove of garlic – peeled but left whole

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons of wild garlic pesto – as per recipe below

150g Goat’s cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

250g mixed salad leaves

Salt & black pepper


Heat the oven to 180

Place the puy lentils, celery stick & bay leaf into a pan and cover with cold water – simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft – drain and discard the celery stick, bay leaf & garlic clove.

Put the red peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar & tamari and mix well until the peppers are covered well, place them onto a roast tray and season with salt & pepper.

Roast the peppers for 25 minutes – then crumble up the goat’s cheese and place into a large bowl, add in the lentils, roast peppers along with the wild garlic pesto and carefully stir through until combined.

Arrange the salad leaves onto a large serving plate or individual plates if so desired and spoon on the salad on top. Perfect for a lunch alone or accompaniment for grilled meats from the BBQ.

Wild garlic pesto with hazelnuts

This delicious zingy pesto is an ideal marinade for grilled meats or stirred through pasta or use as a dressing for the Puy lentil & roast red pepper salad. Wild garlic is abundant at the moment and often free from your garden – it has a short season so grab it whilst you can.

Ingredients for pesto

3 handfuls of wild garlic – washed and roughly chopped

65g roasted, skinned hazelnuts

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)

45ml Extra virgin olive oil

Splash of water

Salt & black pepper


Place all the ingredients into a food processor (without the water) and pulse the mixture until nuts and garlic has been minced up but not a smooth puree. Add the water if too stiff to loosen the mixture – taste and season with a decent pinch of salt and black pepper.

Keeps in a jar in the fridge for 1 week, best to top the jar up with a slug of olive oil to stop the pesto from discolouring.

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