Black Lentils with Celeriac and Mint & Plenty Cookbook Giveaway

by autumn on March 18, 2012

I need to talk about dinner. The food I share here, which undeniably tends toward the sugary, may have led you to believe that I only consume treats and cocktails. If only. The truth is that I adore vegetables and cook them pretty much every night. Even though the boyfriend and I are just a little family of two, it still feels totally important for us to eat food together at the end of the day.

You’re already rolling your eyes aren’t you? No, of course I don’t cook every night and I’ll be the first to admit that we would starve were it not for canned chickpeas. There are the nights when even opening a can is too much and I fall back on one of these little boxes of shame, which I always have in my freezer. Inexplicably, I fell in love with this product and that’s all I’m going to say because I’m embarrassed that I eat frozen macaroni and cheese that is neither macaroni nor cheese.

The truth is, after a wild day out in the world, cooking a good-for-you dinner feels like fighting back. It’s insisting to go slow and be well. At least that’s what I tell myself when I am exhausted and trying to motivate myself not to plop down on the couch and eat corn chips directly from the bag.

I realized recently that what I very often look for in a book or a blog is something good for dinner. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone straight to 101 cookbooks to help figure out what to cook for the week. Plenty has also totally upped my dinner game. I’m not much for celebrity chefs, but I’m here to profess my unwavering love for Yotam Ottolenghi. He has a column in The Guardian, a bunch of successful restaurants in London, and Plenty, a culinary love letter to vegetables that insists they’re the stars of the plate.

He wrote this really poetic thing about salads recently that I think perfectly characterizes his cooking style, “the challenge is to make complete strangers – ingredients that have only just met – seem like old friends.” The components of his recipes don’t necessarily seem like they’d get along, but they’re completely in love.

I can’t wait to cook through summer with Plenty (there’s a recipe for “tomato party” that I’ve been eyeing longingly all winter). In the name of better dinners, I’ve made a goal for myself to share more of my meals in this space, like this Ottolenghi-inspired salad of black lentils with celeriac and mint. I’m also giving away a copy of Plenty. Leave a comment on this post before 6pm eastern time on Friday, 3/23 to be entered to win. and I will choose a winner Friday night. (This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.)

Black Lentils with Celeriac and Mint, just barely adapted from Plenty

Serving Size: 2 as a main dish, 3-4 as a side


  • 1 small (8oz) celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch long matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup black lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh mint, cut into ribbons, to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Toast the pecans in a bare skillet (I used cast iron) over med-high heat until they just begin to get dark spots. Remove and set aside.
  2. Bring lentils, water, and bay leaf to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and barely simmer until the lentils are tender, but still hold their shape, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the celeriac in a separate small sauce pan until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil and vinegar to make the dressing.
  5. Once the lentils are done, drain as much water off as you can and immediately toss them in the bowl with the dressing. Add the celeriac, pecans, and salt & pepper to taste.
  6. When you're ready to serve it, garnish with fresh mint.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 la domestique March 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I must have checked Plenty out from the public library 50 times by now (I’m glad there’s not a limit on that), and it would be great to win a copy. It’s a gorgeous book and such a fresh, global take on cooking with vegetables. I like how the recipe above pairs earthy lentils with bright mint.


2 Adrienne March 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Ohhhh I covet this book. It is just so beautiful and the recipes look so amazing.


3 The Cozy Herbivore March 19, 2012 at 12:21 am

Wow, the combination of lentils and celeriac with mint is so astonishingly novel! I can imagine the mint really perks up the earthy flavors of the root veggies and beans. Not to mention the colors being absolutely beautiful… I can’t wait to try this recipe!

And thank you for your love letter to veggies… it’s so nice to see them getting the adoration they deserve. 🙂


4 meg- grow and resist March 19, 2012 at 1:38 am

I would love to win the cookbook! I’ve been meaning to check it out because people seem to love it. And, mint…mint is definitely under-appreciated in salads and it is so great! (Though cocktails are certainly the first thing that comes to my mind too)


5 gluten free gift March 19, 2012 at 2:13 am

This looks delicious – I’m a big fan of celeriac – and depuy lentils (which are kind of a blue colour)… I have NEVER heard of black lentils… but will now be on an avid search for them up here in Toronto Canada – thanks so much for a great looking recipe!


6 kaela March 19, 2012 at 3:06 am

Plenty has been on my list for a while, but you know how it goes: it takes an Act of Parliament for me to actually purchase another cookbook. But I agree about the mint: it is nearly as under-apreciated as parsley in the herbs-everyone-can-find category. And black lentils! So sexy, but I never see them in my travels.


7 katy March 19, 2012 at 7:24 am

As somebody who, after a really bad day on Friday, sat down to eat cookies for dinner, I can relate to this post in so many ways. Also, I recently discovered quite a liking for celeriac. And Plenty is amazing; I don’t own the book, but I made the Caramelized Garlic Tart recently and it was a glorious experience all around.


8 carrie @plums in the icebox March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

tomato party?!?!?!?!?! i need that book!


9 emily | nomnivorous March 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

When I came over to record your lovely podcast, I spied Plenty on your side table and eyed it longingly. I have yet to pull the trigger on buying it so winning it would be even better.

Also, tomato party? So… I now want to have a tomato canning party and serve whatever tomato party is there!


10 Stephanie March 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I love celeriac and finding new ways to use it. My first time was after searching for a jazzed up potato gratin for Christmas, and since discovering its subtle and elegant flavor I’ve never looked back. Looking forward to trying this!


11 KarenV March 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Plenty has been on my library list many times and I would love to have my own copy. Thank you for the chance. Looking for black lentils to make this dish tonight. Thanks for that too!


12 cynthia March 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

The book looks amazing and the photos- I want to cook and eat Plenty!


13 maggysfarm March 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm

‘plenty’ to love in that recipe (sorry!) and some lovely black soybeans came out of the garden last year so methinks we’ll try it with those…………..thanks


14 MAria March 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm

completely adore Ottolenghi – thanks for spreading the word about how brilliant he is!


15 Karen Clevering March 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh YUM! This looks beautiful and so healthy!


16 Jonquil March 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

‘Plenty’ sounds like an amazing book. With daughter & soninlaw trying to lose weight, & 3 young grandchildren on board, a book with new veg. recipes would be just the thing!


17 Veronica March 19, 2012 at 5:10 pm

This book sounds like just what I need to add to my collection, especially since vegetables are front and center in most of my cooking! 🙂


18 Daedre Craig March 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Mmmm…that looks so good. I’m going to try to grow celeriac again this year. It fizzled out last year before I could even get the seedling transplanted. This would be the perfect use for them.


19 Teslaca March 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Oh, I love, love, love this cookbook and hope to win. I’ve borrowed it from the library and am back on the waiting list to borrow it again. Also love celery root. Great stuff, as are canned chickpeas, a staple in my kitchen too. Thanks for a chance to win an awesome cookbook!


20 Catherine March 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

I love to cook veggies and this book seems to provide many inspiring options! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂


21 Kate March 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I’ve just discovered this lovely site of yours and am excited to get to know you and your recipes better. I am enjoying ‘getting acquainted’ so far. And for all I’ve heard about ‘Plenty’ I think it’s high time I try to find myself a copy of that book.

Thanks for doing this giveaway!


22 Yossy | apt2bbakingco March 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

101cookbooks is my go to dinner inspiration too! There is a really amazing cucumber, coconut and peanut salad that we love around these parts. As for Plenty, I’ve only longingly gazed at it in the bookstore, but I would love to own a copy!!


23 Carolyn March 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I totally agree with what you said — at first glance, the ingredients of his recipes seem mistakenly or even haphazardly put together, but they work, as if by some kind of culinary magic. So far I have only tried recipes of his available online, but would love to get my little mitts on Plenty.


24 Kimberly March 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

Love lentils! We tend to fall back on hot water miracles like quinoa or couscous when we are rushed. Boil water, add spices, let sit. Heat up other veggies, ect. Eat! Would love to be entered for the cookbook!


25 Christina March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

Honestly, we make A LOT of the same dishes for dinner week after week, “mexican night” or “brenner”, ect… I’m in a rut and PLENTY would do the trick 🙂


26 Kate H. March 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

I love this book, I’ve repeatedly taken out of the library so I’d love to have it on my shelf.


27 Krista van Dale March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

I just went back to work after staying home with my daughter for 5 years. I love to cook but now I’m looking for simpler, delicious, recipes I can cook during the week. Thank god I have Summers off to throw a tomato party though!


28 Andra March 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Now I know what to do with the celeriac when it comes in my Community Supported Agriculture basket this summer! Thank you!


29 Vickie Nichols March 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Your dish looks delicious. I’m wondering if French green lentils would work? That’s what I have on hand.


30 autumn March 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

Hey Vickie, You just want a lentil that more or less holds its shape after cooking. It’s my understanding that french lentils are great in that department. So, I’d say give it a try!


31 rcakewalk March 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’m throwing my name in! I’ve never read any of Ottolenghi, and am really looking forward to discovering more about him.


32 sasha kaplan March 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I put a hold on this cookbook at my neighborhood library as soon as I heard about it. I would have eaten the book if I could have! Visually stunning, this book truly embraces vegetarian cooking in a creative way. I would love to have the time to make every recipe in this book. When I had the library copy, I was only able to do a few of them before the book was due back for the next lucky patron. The cover alone is a drooler!


33 Lauren March 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

This cookbook looks amazing. I often need dinner inspiration, so I would love to win this copy. Thanks for the giveaway.


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