condiments + sauces party food quick + easy salad side dish summer

Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

February 7, 2011

Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

One of the many nice things about unpacking all our stuff which was in storage while we were in New Zealand has been rediscovering our collection of old Australian Gourmet Traveller magazines. Working in libraries was a great opportunity to collect both old books and out of date magazines and I have had loads of fun unpacking our little collection.

Flicking through these magazines recently I filled a few pages with different recipe ideas and inspiration and this is the first of hopefully many successful and delicious adaptations.

The recipe is a quick and tasty makeover of a lamb and tomato salad, vegetarianized with lentils, dates and a tahini dressing. It’s super tasty and very simple to throw together. I used tinned lentils as a quick alternative but if you have the time use cooked lentils in this vegetarian recipe for added texture. The addition of dates was inspired by a discussion I had with our wonderful friend Shona last night while we mused over different vegetarian cook books and recipes. So thank you Shona for this delicious moment of foodie inspiration :) the dates add the perfect meaty texture and a little sweetness to balance with the spices.

The spice mix I used was a * Greek seasoning; a combination of paprika, salt, garlic, thyme, oregano, pepper and cayenne pepper, use your favourite seasoning mix or combination of spices to create your own version. A great vegetarian recipe for a casual lunch or light dinner, the lentils and spices match perfectly with the crisp and cool tomato and cucumber and the creamy tahini dressing.

Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

Preparation time: 25mins// Serves 2-4

Print Friendly
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 400g (14 oz) tinned or cooked brown lentils (approx 2 cups)
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1-1½ tbs Greek seasoning { see note above* }
  • 5 fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 lebanese cucumbers, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced

Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

  • 2 pickled (or fresh) chillies, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs tahina
  • 1 tbs unsweetened non-dairy or dairy yoghurt

to serve

  • thinly sliced preserved lemon (optional)
  • fresh mint or thyme

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the lentils and diced celery and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add the chopped dates, Greek seasoning or spices and a good pinch of salt flakes or ground sea salt, continue to cook for a few more minutes until lentils start to stick to the bottom of the pan and are a little crispy, set aside.

To make the dressing combine the minced chilli and garlic with the olive oil, whisk the chilli oil mixture with the tahina and yoghurt until smooth and creamy.

Arrange the tomato wedges, cucumber and red onion on a large platter, spoon over the lentil mixture and top with dollops of the tahina dressing.

Garnish with slivers of preserved lemon and a few fresh mint or thyme leaves.

A quick and simple vegetarian recipe that looks fresh and delicious and is perfect for a nice lunch or light evening meal served with crunchy bread.

This recipe would also make a lovely side dish to accompany a main meal.

Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing

{ Adapted from the Lamb, Za’atar & Tomato Salad w/ Harissa Yoghurt Dressing recipe found in the February 2005 edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller }

You Might Also Like

  • Maija Haavisto February 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Mmm, sounds yummy. I’ll probably make it using za’atar and skipping the celery (maybe fennel instead?).

  • tami February 8, 2011 at 3:20 am

    this looks so hearty and healthy. bookmarking this to make! thanks for sharing :)

  • sally February 8, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Just bought some tahini and lentils. I’ll have to give this great looking recipe a try!

  • Naomi February 8, 2011 at 6:16 am

    looks amazing as usual! I especially love that last photo. can’t wait to try it!

  • Paula February 8, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I think I could eat this all day long, because I love such delicious looking things :)

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) February 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Looks absolutely delicious Trudy. You are very inventive!

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num February 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hey everyone, thanks for the lovely comments!! Maija I looked everywhere for za’atar to make this recipe but to no avail, boo! Let us know how it turns out if you get a chance to make it!!

  • kitblu February 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Maija – thanks for the idea of za’atar.

    Trudy – I have lots of ideas for this dressing – reading it makes me drool!

  • Nuts about food February 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious, even if we are in the middle of winter here and I am not buying tomatoes…I must remember this when its starts getting warmer and tomatoes are in season again!

  • Erica February 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Just made this for dinner. Wow! it was great. I left out the chillies because I didn’t have any in the house. It was brilliant anyway. Another terrific veggie numnum recipe. Thanks Trudy. Cheers, erica

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num February 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Kitblu let us know how your ideas for the dressing turn out, I love to hear how others adapt and vary Veggie num num recipes :)

    Nuts about food, you could maybe try cooking up the lentils and serving them over some warm roasted winter veg like brussel sprouts, pumpkin and/or spuds, mmmmm yum!!

    Thanks so very much Erica 😀 It’s lovely to hear from you again!! and super happy you love the recipe!!

  • Sonnet February 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    This looms so delicious and easy to make. I will definitely have to try this out! :)

  • Johanna GGG February 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I made this a couple of weeks back and posted about it recently – it was such an interesting combination of flavours and textures – though presenting it as prettily as you was a bit beyond me

  • Emma October 12, 2011 at 5:20 am

    I know you posted this an age ago but I only just made it. Just wanted to say how delicious it was :) Definitely going to become a regular in my kitchen- the sweet chewy dates and earthy lentils with crisp veg and creamy tahini sauce…yum yum.

  • *b* October 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I have spent the morning renovating and really worked up an appetite but didn’t feel like making anything too fandangle.This is sooooooo easy and quick to make. And I cannot even begin to describe how delicious it is!

    I must say, this is the first time I have posted on your site however I stumbled over your page a few months back and have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen ever since. Your recipes are amazing and have so much flavour, and to date there has not been one I have found that I haven’t loved.

    Thank you so much for letting me find your site!! Please keep posting up your magical meals!! ^_^


  • elle November 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    This recipe looks delicious! I think i will have a hard time convincing the boy about the dates though, can you think of anything i could use as a substitute? He’s not really into the dried fruit side of things..

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num November 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

    What wonderful feedback!! Thank you sooooooo much everyone, this is really one of those simple yet super tasty and interesting dishes and I’m so glad you all love it 😀 and thank you *b* for the super sweet and kind words… love that you’re loving the recipes here on Veggie num num!!

    Hi elle! you could simply leave out the dates or try substituting with some pitted olives or maybe dry roasted pistachio nuts (just add these at the end) hope this is helpful and that both you and your boy enjoy this salad :)