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Harissa-Stewed Lentils with Pickled Fennel Salad

Stewed Lentils with Pickled Fennel Salad

Harissa-stewed lentils with pickled fennel salad makes the humble legume feel downright swanky. This hearty plant-based meal is brimming with nutrients and will satisfy both vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Course Entree, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 365kcal


  • 1 small fennel bulb (with stalks and fronds attached)
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. mild harissa sauce (such as Mina brand)
  • 1 heaping cup dry green or brown lentils
  • 3 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh torn mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • A pinch of black pepper and chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt


  • Remove stalks and fronds from fennel bulbs. Remove fronds from stalks (discard stalks) and coarsely chop fronds; set aside. Cut fennel bulb in half and thinly slice on a mandoline (if you have one; if not, thinly slice with a knife). Place fennel in a large bowl. 
    Bring vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour vinegar mixture over fennel; let cool to room temperature while you prepare lentils.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and bell pepper; cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. 
    Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and harissa; cook 3 more minutes, until tomato paste darkens in color. Stir in lentils; cook 2 minutes to lightly toast.
  • Add broth, diced tomatoes, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt; bring mixture to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer for 25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Remove lid and simmer, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • During final 5 minutes of cooking lentils, finish preparing fennel salad. Pour fennel through a strainer and discard pickling liquid; transfer fennel back to bowl. Add mint leaves, 1/4 cup of chopped fennel fronds, almonds, and remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with black pepper, a pinch of chili flakes, and additional salt, if desired.
  • Divide stewed lentils evenly between 4 bowls. Top with a dollop of yogurt and a scoop of fennel salad. Serve warm. 


Make-Ahead: Pickle the fennel up to 2 days ahead and store refrigerated in an airtight container. 
Store: Store the fennel salad and stewed lentils separately in airtight containers for up to 4 days. 
Reheat: Take the fennel salad out 30 minutes prior to serving to take off some of the chill. Stewed lentils can be reheated in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of broth. 


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 850mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g