Lime lentils with dates

The sourness of the limes, the gentle heat of the ginger, and the sweetness from the dates and honey marry perfectly to spruce up the blandness that is so often associated with lentils.

Recipe by @bitemau

Serves 3 as a main, 5 as a side


  • 200g red or green lentils
  • A good glug of regular olive oil
  • 1 whole clove of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4cm of ginger, finely grated
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 700ml boiling water
  • 100g pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tsp of coarse salt
  • 1 extra lime, cut into eights, to serve
  • A small handful of parsley, roughly chopped, to serve (optional)
  • 2 or 3 sliced radishes, to serve (optional)


  1. Pour the oil into a large pot and toss in the clove of garlic to flavour it (don’t bother to chop it). Warm over a medium-high heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and stir till fragrant.
  3. Add the grated ginger and when warm, add the lentils, lime zest and juice. Stir till everything is covered in aromatic oil.
  4. Add the honey and pour in the boiled water and salt, followed by the dates and bay leaves. Give everything a good stir.
  5. Bring to the boil, clamp the lid on and turn the heat down to low, allowing everything to simmer gently.
  6. Leave to simmer for around 45 minutes, checking occasionally to see if any extra hot water needs to be added.
  7. Once the water has been mostly absorbed (a little soupiness is desirable here), fish out the bay leaves and garlic clove, and taste for seasoning.
  8. Switch the heat off and leave to stand for 15 minutes with the lid off.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and radishes if desired. Serve with an extra lime, cut into wedges.

Follow @bitemau on Instagram for more of Mau's delicious recipes.

This recipe first appeared in Gourmet Today magazine, December, 2018.

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