Skip to navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

Lentils with onion and watercress

This is a soft, soothing little dish of cooked lentils, perked up with peppery watercress and sweetened with fried onions. It's easy-to-eat comfort food, but also very nutritious - packed with protein and a good source of iron, vitamin C and antioxidants. Serve with rice to create a vegetarian meal with complete protein. It's also a nice accompaniment to chicken or baked fish or any kind of curry.


Put the lentils and chopped garlic in a saucepan with 400ml water. Bring to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick and the lentils are starting to break down, adding a little more water if necessary.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil, drop in the watercress and cook for a minute or so, just until it's completely wilted. Drain and leave to cool in a colander. When it's cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the water, then chop fairly finely.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring often and keeping the heat at medium. The idea is to get the onion to start to caramelise and brown just a little. Combine the cooked lentils with the chopped watercress and cooked onion. Season if you like, and serve hot with rice or bread.

Serving suggestions

For babies: this can function as a purée, or your baby can dip into it with a chunk of rice cake, or some vegetable batons.

Freezer friendly

River Cottage Gifts - Shop Now


  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 200-250g watercress, tough stems removed
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (optional

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook