Thursday, April 6, 2023

Puy lentils with wild garlic pesto, Greek anthotyro and date molasses dressing

Wild garlic season is here and for me this means one thing first and foremost. Wild garlic pesto.


I’ve been meaning to share my recipe for this for a while now, so here it is. Full of wild garlic flavor, no other greens to dilute its pungency and aroma, with classic pine nuts and parmigiano, and lots of extra virgin olive oil. 

In this dish it is simply dreamy as it pairs perfectly with the nutty and peppery green Puy lentils and the creamy Greek anthotyro. 



The dressing is another little gem, heavy with citrus flavor, fresh, hot ginger and date molasses to render its sweetness and balance out the acidity.

Needless to say, both the pesto and the dressing are recipes that you can use in other dishes.


Use the pesto over your favorite pasta shape or in other salads/grilled vegetables, smeared on top of a good seared steak or fish, as a pizza or bruschetta topping, or in a sandwich.

You can use the dressing to jazz up any old boring salad.



More recipes with wild garlic:

~Wild garlic flaky flatbreads

~Wild garlic tzatziki

~Broccolini with wild garlic and miso dressing 

~Veal biftekia (Greek burgers) with wild garlic






Puy lentils with wild garlic pesto, Greek anthotyro and date molasses dressing

You can eat this dish either warm, when lentils are freshly boiled, or at room temperature.

You can substitute the Greek anthotyro with ricotta if you are unable to find it where you live. If you don’t have date molasses, you can use grape or carob molasses instead, even though you must keep in mind that each type of molasses will lend its own unique flavor to your food.

Puy lentils keep their shape when cooked, making them ideal for this kind of dish and for salads. You could also use black Beluga lentils.


Yield: 4 servings  

Special equipment: small food processor



for the wild garlic pesto

100 g trimmed wild garlic (without the stems), rinsed and patted dry

50 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano

50 g toasted pine nuts

100-110 ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt (if needed)


for the dressing

4 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

4-5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp date molasses

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, 4-5 turns of the pepper mill


350 g Puy green lentils

200 g Greek anthotyro cheese




make the wild garlic pesto

In a food processor, add the wild garlic leaves and process roughly. Add the grated Parmigiano and process a bit more. Add the pine nuts and process just a little. Add olive oil, a couple teaspoons at a time, and process. You should end up with a slightly chunky pesto with well incorporated ingredients. You may need more or less oil depending on how thick or loose you want your pesto, or how much moisture the leaves release.

Keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge, in a glass jar with lid, or frozen into cubes for 2-3 months.

make the dressing

In a glass jar with a lid, add all the ingredients, close the lid tightly and shake well. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed.

prepare the lentils

Before you cook the lentils, it is important that you pick them over. Sometimes you can find spoiled or blackened lentils, or small stones or debris among them that you have to discard. Just lay the lentils on a plate in small batches and pick them over carefully.

Pour 1 liter of water in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pan, put on the lid, and let water come to the boil over high heat. When it comes to the boil, add the Puy lentils along with ¼ tsp salt, lower heat to medium, put on the lid and let lentils cook for 15-20 minutes, until they soften but remain 'al dente', meaning firm but not hard. Drain them well in a colander and return them to the pan.


In a bowl, toss the boiled lentils (either while hot, or when they have cooled) with as much of the vinaigrette as you want. It’s all about personal taste here. Start with a few tablespoonfuls and add more if needed.

Divide the lentils among four plates.

Add a couple heaped teaspoonfuls of pesto on top, then crumble some anthotyro cheese on top.

Drizzle with a little more dressing if desired.