Brown Lentils With Fennel

An easy weeknight recipe with some unusual flavour combinations.

I first saw the combination of fennel with brown lentils a few weeks ago on Instagram (the feedfeed). I was intrigued to give it a go, but in my own way. I made this recipe with a handful of ingredients so it could be easily made on a weeknight. I love simple recipes like this. But some of the ingredients that we are using, like tomato paste, dried mint and vegetable bouillon, will give this recipe a depth of flavour.

How To Pair This Dish?

There are a number of ways to have this brown lentils with fennel dish. You can either serve it over rice (or brown rice), have it with roti (or chapati), or on it’s own (with a salad on the side is my favourite). Add some plain yogurt on the side too.

Ingredients At A Glance


  • Brown lentils are available by the name Berglinsen at German grocery stores.
  • You can use homemade vegetable stock instead or vegetable bouillon or skip it. You will have to add extra salt in that case.

Watch the video instructions below to easily follow the recipe

Brown Lentils With Fennel

An easy weeknight recipe with some unusual flavour combinations.
Cook Time 45 minutes
Soaking time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 4


  • 1 cup (200 grams) brown lentils
  • 1 medium onion (brown)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (200 grams) fennel bulb
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (or 6 Tbsp tomato puree)
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 3 tsp vegetable bouillon (or 1½ tsp salt)
  • 4 cups (800 ml) water


  • Wash and soak the brown lentils for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, slice the onion and finely dice the garlic. Slice the green parts of the fennel. Once the green parts have been removed, split the fennel in half, vertically. Remove the 'V' shaped core. Slice it like an onion. Keep the green and white parts apart.
  • Heat oil into a pot. Once hot, add the onion, garlic and the green parts of the fennel. Sauté for two minutes.
  • Add the cumin seeds and sauté for another minute.
  • Then add the sliced fennel and sauté for about two minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and dried mint, and sauté for about two minutes.
  • Drain the brown lentils and add it to the pot. Also add the vegetable bouillon and the water. Give it a mix.
  • Bring it to a simmer, then cover and let it cook until the lentils are tender. In a standard (stove top) pot it takes between 30-40 minutes. To quicken the cooking process, you could use a pressure cooker or an instant pot.
  • Check if the lentils are tender by squeezing between the spatula and your finger. When soft, it’s ready to serve.
Keyword brown lentil recipe, easy vegan recipe, easy weeknight meal, easy weeknight recipe, fennel bulb recipe, fennel recipe, lentil recipe, vegan lentil recipe, vegan recipes, weeknight recipe

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