Red Lentil and Toasted Walnut Tapenade with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

 walnut tapenade

Recently I was treated to a lovely package of California walnuts that included a handy little cutting board, a nut cracker, a cute oven mitt and a useful jar. The presentation was most impressive. I was invited to enter a holiday contest using the walnuts and decided upon this appetizer that can be most pleasingly served with chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery, green and red pepper or any other veggie you fancy. This tapenade — or pate if you prefer — also goes well with crackers and seedy flatbreads. We all know we enjoy snacking more at holiday time and this recipe is guilt-free as it is packed full of nutrients and not in the least bit decadent, though you might think so because you won't be able to stop nibbling on it. Tangy, with a bit of kick, the flavors compliment each other for one fine dip or spread. This recipe makes a fair amount so if you are looking for something to bring to a holiday gathering (vegans can enjoy it too) do consider offering up this tapenade.

High in omega-3 acid (especially essential for vegetarians) and antioxidants, the fat in walnuts is polyunsaturated and contains no cholesterol nor trans fat. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium, folic acid, omega-6, thiamine, niacin, B6, iron, zinc and fiber. A daily dose of walnuts is just plain good for you and the possibilities are endless. Excellent just on their own, or make up an appetizer, incorporate them into a main dish (I'm thinking nut loaf — yum), consider dressing up your grain dishes or presenting an awe-inspiring dessert.

Red Lentil and Toasted Walnut Tapenade with Olives and Sun-Dried TomatoesRed Lentil and Toasted Walnut Tapenade with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Recipe by
Published on November 14, 2011

An incredibly flavor-packed and healthy dip or spread for fresh vegetables, crackers or flatbreads

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

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  • 2/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 to 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 fresh green chilies
  • a few crushed dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary + extra for garnish
  • Begin by cooking the lentils. In a medium pot, bring the lentils to a boil in two cups of water. Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft and tender. Drain off any excess liquid.

  • While the lentils are cooking, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, Drain, reserving some of the soaking liquid in case the mixture is too dry.

  • Combine the cooked lentils, lemon or lime juice, salt, chilies, paprika, cayenne, sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a food processor and pulse.

  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat and dry roast the walnuts and cumin seeds until lightly toasted. Make sure to stir frequently. Add the walnuts and cumin seeds to the food processor. 

  • Now add the olive oil over medium heat and when hot add the onion and stir, stirring and fry until the onion begins to soften.  Stir in the rosemary and stir and fry for another minute or two. Add the cooked onion mixture to the food processor. If it is too dry, add a bit of the reserved sun-dried tomato soaking liquid.

  • Process the mixture until smooth and garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary. Can be served warm or cold or at room temperature.

Makes 3 cups
red lentil toasted walnut tapenade with olives and sun-dried tomatoes

More holiday appetizers you may enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Olive Tapenade
Marinated Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Olives
Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Hummus with Goat Cheese


Unknown said...

This looks so delicious. I love lentil dips, but the sun dried tomatoes and olives just bring it to the next level! It's almost like a lentil tapenade. Very neat recipe.

Stephanie said...

This looks amazing! I can't wait to try and make this :) I can smell it now heh... Orlando Italian Restaurant

Unknown said...

This looks lentils cant wait to try this one soon.


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Myvegfare said...

Wow, with olives and sundried tomatoes.., would certainly will give it a try