Spiced lentil & kumara pies

prep + cook time 1 hour 20 minutes (+ cooling)
makes 8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion (170g), chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 celery stalk (150g), trimmed, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (see tips)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2¼ cups (450g) french-style green lentils
  • 2 small kumara (orange sweet potato) (500g), cut into 3cm (1¼-inch) pieces
  • 2 cups (500ml) basic vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • 400g (12½ ounces) canned cherry tomatoes in juice
  • 60g (2 ounces) baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten lightly
  • herb and lemon yoghurt
  • 1 cup (280g) greek-style yoghurt
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon rind (see tips)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1          Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, garlic and celery for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add harissa, spices, cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add lentils, kumara, stock and the water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until lentils and kumara are tender.

2          Add tomatoes; return to a simmer, cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in spinach, parsley, fresh coriander and rind; season to taste; cool.

3          Meanwhile, make herb and lemon yoghurt.

4          Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Grease eight 1 cup (250ml) pie tins (with a base measurement of 7.5cm/3 inches and a top measurement of 12.5cm/5 inches).

5          Cut eight 13cm (5¼-inch) squares from pastry. Refrigerate until required.

6          Fill pie tins with cooled lentil filling; top with pastry squares, pressing edges to seal. Brush tops with egg. Cut small steam holes in top of pies.

7          Bake pies for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is hot. Serve with herb and lemon yoghurt.

herb and lemon yoghurt  Combine ingredients in a bowl.


Harissa is a hot chilli paste; there are many different brands available on the market, and the strengths vary enormously. If you have a low heat-level tolerance, you may find this, and any other recipe containing harissa, too hot to tolerate, even if you reduce the amount. Preserved lemon is available at delicatessens and some supermarkets. Remove and discard the flesh, wash the rind, then use it as the recipe directs.

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