Spanish lentils with chorizo

Another winter, another lentil recipe. This is a pretty traditional “lentejas con chorizo” recipe, if you make a double batch it freezes really well.

Adapted from Recetas de Rechupete


  • 250 g pardina lentils, rinsed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (or half sweet, half hot)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 400 g can of tomato sauce
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 100 g Spanish spicy chorizo, skin removed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • water
  • olive oil


Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat in a couple of good glugs of olive oil until they start to soften. Add the carrots and red pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or so, until the carrots start to soften slightly. Add the lentils and chorizo and fry them in the oil and vegetables for a few minutes, until the chorizo starts to render fat. Add in the bay leaves, paprikas, tomato paste and tomato sauce. Add three sauce cans’ worth of water and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow the lentils to simmer over medium heat for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and carrots are tender.




Ensalada de Tomate y Atún

This is my favorite salad, hands down. I associate it with Catalan cooking but maybe it’s typical throughout Spain as well. It’s quite light and you need to use the best ingredients possible as it’s very simple. We like to eat it as a side dish to something heavier, like libritos de pollo (stuffed chicken breasts) or skewers.


  • 800 grams of in-season tomatoes. I prefer Raf, Montserrat or “salad” tomatoes – Do NOT use Roma tomatoes
  • approx 1/2-3/4 cup thinly sliced red onions or spring onions, depending on how much you love onions
  • 75 grams bonito del norte (or the best quality tuna you can get)
  • a big handful of mixed olives
  • 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 2 TB best-quality cold pressed olive oil
  • Pinch of good sea salt, like Maldon


Slice tomatoes in thin wedges and put in shallow layers in a flat-bottomed recipient. Sprinkle onion slices  and salt evenly over top. Whisk together oil, Dijon and garlic clove, then pour over tomatoes and mix in with your hands. This makes a difference! Flake the tuna evenly over the tomato mix and finally sprinkle the olives over the top.

Servings: Four, approx. 130 calories.

Albóndigas a la jardinera

Typical Spanish meatballs recipe, also called “Albóndigas a la Madrileña.” A hearty all-in-one pot meal, meatballs with loads of vegetables. You can get this as a “segundo plato” in most bars and menú del día type restaurants.


  • 12 meatballs (I buy them pre-made from the store, but it’s probably about 500g of carne picada)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced finely
  • 2 leeks, white and light green tops, sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas (I like a lot of peas in this recipe.)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 100 g tomato paste or a small can of triturado
  • flour
  • pimentón de la vera
  • salt
  • 150 ml cheap white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups caldo or a stock cube + 2 cups water


Dredge the meatballs in a few tablespoons of flour that’s been mixed with some pimentón. In a big pot, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, brown meatballs evenly over medium-high heat and remove.  Turn heat to medium and sauté onion, garlic and leeks until they start to soften (scraping up bits from the bottom of the pot). Add carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Then add the white wine, caldo (or stock cube), tomato paste (or triturado) and a cup or two of water. Better to add less water now and see how it looks with all the veg, and then you can add more later if necessary. Add in meatballs, bay leaves, potatoes, peas, and a bit more pimentón. Check for salt. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Check the last 10-15 minutes or so to make sure carrots/potatoes are done, but don’t over cook. I like to turn the heat off and let the pot sit for a while so the flavors can blend. Right before you serve, heat the pot back up up to simmering and serve.

Update: I’ve made this now half a dozen times or so, and it’s fast becoming Joel’s favorite. In addition to onion, leek and garlic I also throw in a couple of rough-chopped shallots. You can also sub out some of the potato and/or carrots with parsnips, for more root vegetable goodness!

Servings: Six, approx. According to MFP each serving has about 400 calories. Not bad!