Puy lentil cassoulet with walnut crust

Preparation info

  • Serve


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 15

Appears in

The Part-Time Vegetarian: Flexible Recipes to Go (Nearly) Meat-Free

The Part-Time Vegetarian

By Nicola Graimes

Published 2015

  • About

Warming and comforting, this rustic, peasant-style cassoulet is loosely based on the French meaty equivalent, yet it works brilliantly with the earthiness of the Puy lentils and lots of veg. The crust of garlicky walnut crumbs also adds that extra something. Serve in large shallow bowls with crusty bread for dunking and a crisp green salad.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 2 large carrots, halved lengthways and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 750 ml/26 fl oz/ cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cm/4 in sprig of rosemary
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 100 g/ oz/½ cup dried Puy lentils
  • 400 g/14 oz can haricot beans, drained
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened then stir in the leek, garlic, carrots, turnips and celery and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and add the herbs, tomato purée/ paste, lentils and beans. Bring to the boil, stir well, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes, covered, until the lentils are tender (remove the rosemary after 20 minutes). Stir the cassoulet occasionally to prevent it sticking and only part-cover the pan if you find you need to cook off some of the liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Meanwhile, make the walnut crust. Put the walnuts in a large dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing regularly, until starting to colour. Remove from the pan and roughly chop. Pour the oil into the pan, add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring regularly so that they cook evenly, for 5 minutes until turning golden. Stir in the garlic and walnuts and cook for another minute.
  • Stir a third of the walnut crust mixture into the cassoulet, then serve in large bowls, sprinkled with the remaining crust mixture.