Meera Sodha’s Vegan Recipe for Potato and Lentil Salad with Pistachio Chimichurri | Picnics

My grandfather was always the main initiator of family forest trips and the kind of picnics he liked were very extensive. They took an entire morning of preparations, only for us to drive to a parking lot and walk a few yards before rolling out the parade of Tupperware. There were always potatoes, lentils, herbs and greens, and although today’s recipe wasn’t what we ate back then, it’s a collection of his favorite things. I wrote it specifically for eating outdoors, whether in the garden, on a park bench or in a parking lot.

Potato and lentil salad with pistachio chimichurri

You need a blender to make chimichurri. If you can’t find jalapeños, use a green finger or arugula chili instead (or omit them altogether if you prefer).

Prepare 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Serving 4

500 g cooked puy lentils (or 230 g dried puy lentils)
600 g new potatoeswashed and halved
2 large fennel bulbs (600g), trimmed and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 red onionspeeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 lemons1 diced, 1 juiced
8 cloves of garlicpeeled and chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
50 g picked flat-leaf parsley
2 green jalapeño chiliesstems removed, meat chopped
40 g unsalted shelled pistachios


Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. If you are cooking the lentils from scratch, rinse them well, put them in a small lidded pot and add enough cold water to cover by 2cm. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes, until the lentils are cooked but retain a slight bite. Drain and let them cool in a sieve so they don’t keep boiling.

Place the potatoes, fennel, onion, lemon wedges and six of the minced garlic cloves in a large roasting pan, pour 75ml of oil over it and sprinkle over a teaspoon of salt. Turn to coat, then roast for 50 minutes, until all the vegetables are browned, the potatoes are crisp and the fennel is starting to crisp around the edges. Add the lentils, stir everything together, then return to the oven for five minutes to warm the lentils through.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk the parsley, the remaining two cloves of minced garlic, the chillies, the pistachios, two tablespoons of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of salt and 75ml (or another five tablespoons) of oil into a thick sauce, then leave to marinate.

To serve, stir most of the chimichurri dressing into the warm vegetables and toss to coat. Turn out onto a platter or individual plates and top with a little more chimichurri.