Beef with mustardy lentils and mint

Beef with mustardy lentils and mint

River Cottage Every Day
Simon Wheeler

This works as a portable lunchbox, picnic dish, or as part of a cold-cuts lunch or buffet spread. Lentils are best served slightly warm or at room temperature, so you can prepare them ahead.

You can also make this with leftover roast pork or chicken, cooked sausages, or cold ox tongue or salt beef, leaving the salt out of the dressing if you are using cured meat.


Quantity Ingredient
200g puy lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
200g cold roast beef, cut into strips or torn into rough shreds
2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint

For the dressing:

Quantity Ingredient
2 good teaspoons english mustard
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the lentils in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and add the bay leaf. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are al dente. Keep an eye on them, and taste after about 15 minutes, as they can go from al dente to soft very quickly. Top up with more water if necessary during cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in another pan, add the onion and celery and sweat gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but still with a bit of crunch. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. When the lentils are done, drain them, remove the bay leaf and return the lentils to the warm pan. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and tip into the warm lentils, along with the sautéed onion and celery. Stir well and leave to cool.
  4. Toss the beef and mint into the lentils, taste and add some more seasoning if you like.


  • Beef with horseradishy lentils

    If you have horseradish sauce left over along with your beef, use a couple of teaspoons of this in the dressing instead of the mustard.

    Leftover mackerel lunchbox

    For a fantastic lunch for two, use roughly half the quantity of lentils listed above and toss with 100–150g flaked cold cooked mackerel (or other cold, cooked fish), loads of roughly chopped parsley and a tablespoon of small capers, rinsed.
River Cottage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
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