Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread

BY : PUBLISHED : February 15th, 2022

This Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread is perfect as a dip when it's freshly made warm and as a spread for sandwiches when it's cold. It is deliciously creamy with hints of warmth and heat. The Kalamata olive bits give it pops of saltiness and fruity sweetness! We ate this spread thickly on a pita bread topped with tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers, and it was ridiculously delicious!

completed Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip in a white bowl against a white background

The Perfect Homemade Spread

Once you've tasted this perfectly-spiced, gluten-free, versatile spread, you will want it on everything! Spread it on tortillas, wraps, toasts, and sandwiches. Enjoy it as a dip for crackers, veggie sticks, and chips, or toss it with some greens as a yummy salad dressing. And you can enjoy as much of it as you want because it is super healthy to boot! Kalamata leaves are one of the healthiest types there is, with heart-healthy fats and lots of antioxidants. While lentils are an inexpensive way to get those much-needed nutrients into our bodies, they are protein-filled, fiber-rich, and are brimming with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

If you are new to using lentils, it is high time you know more about them. They are easy to prepare, easy to store, and so nifty that you can incorporate them into your diet in various ways. In this recipe, you can use either brown lentils with their earthy taste, which are the most common and budget-friendly variety, or the green ones with a nutty and peppery flavor. If you want to know more about lentils, check out our Complete Guide to Lentils and learn about the different types and how to store, cook, season, and enjoy them.

completed Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip in a white bowl against a white background with two dip-filled cracker on the side

Ingredients You'll Need

  • Brown or green lentils
  • Bay leaf - Adds a layer of aroma and tea-like, mild menthol taste to lighten and brighten the otherwise flavor-heavy dip.
  • Coriander seeds – Provide a lemony and fresh flavor that pairs quite well with cumin.
  • Cumin - A warm-flavored spice with hints of nuttiness and sweetness.
  • Red pepper flakes - Give the dip a punch on heat!
  • Kalamata olives - Are bigger and plumper than black olives, with a more subtle taste and sweet and fruity tones.
  • Aromatics - We used diced onion and pressed garlic to give the spread a savory base!
  • Olive oil - For sauteeing. You can use other types of oil like grapeseed or sunflower too.
  • Sea salt - To taste.
  • Water - For boiling.

ingredients for Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip measured out against a white surface

How to Make Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread

1) Prepare the Lentils. In a large pot, add water, lentils, bay leaf, and coriander seeds and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let simmer until the lentils are tender. Remove the bay leaf and drain. Do not discard the cooking water and reserve 2 to 3 tablespoon for later.

ingredients for Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip measured out against a white surface process of putting ingredients into stainless steel bowl

2) Cook the Aromatics. While the lentils cook, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or pan under medium heat, then saute onions for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are limp and translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let them cook for one more minute before transferring to a food processor.

ingredients for Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip measured out against a white surface alonside pan process of adding onions to black skillet

3) Blend and Refrigerate. Add the cooked lentils, 2 tablespoon of cooking liquid, and cumin to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid to thin it out. Add the chopped olives and mix, then refrigerate.

process of adding onions to food processor with measured out ingredients against a white surfaceprocess of adding ingredients to food processorseveral kalatmat olives on a white surfaceseveral kalamata olives in a white bowl against a white surface

Tips when Making Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread

  • Remember that green lentils take longer to cook than brown ones. So make the necessary adjustment to your boiling time.
  • If you want to add more flavor to your lentils, boil them in vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Do not overcook your lentils! Make sure that you let them gently simmer after bringing them to a boil. Overcooked lentils will be mushy, which will make the spread watery and less creamy.
  • You can make the dip spicier by adding more red pepper flakes to the mixture. If you want it kid-friendly, you can omit it too.
  • Once the cooking water is added, the spread may look a bit too thin. Do not worry; it will thicken as it chills, which will give you the perfect consistency for spreading.

completed Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip in a white bowl against a white backgroundFrequently Asked Questions

  1. I cannot find Kalamata olives, what can I use instead? You can use black olives. They have a different flavor profile but will do in a pinch. Take note that black olives have a much stronger taste, so using less is a good idea.
  2. Do I need to rinse the Kalamata olives before using them? Since they are brined, olives are salty when consumed without rinsing. It is better to wash off the brine solution to let their natural flavors shine through and reduce the amount of sodium that comes with it.
  3. Can I use lentils that have been sitting in my pantry for months? The great thing about lentils is they store really well. As long as they are tightly packed, they can last for a year!

Storing Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread

Place the spread in a lidded container or a jar, and keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days. Always make sure to use clean utensils when scooping a portion to prevent bacterial build-up that might spoil the spread.

completed Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip in a white bowl against a white background with several dip-filled cracker on the side

Have a lot of lentils left? Here are some yummy recipes that you can use them for!

  1. Homestyle "Meaty" Tomato Sauce with Lentils and Walnuts - This sauce is a universal crowd-pleaser; with few ingredients (and easy to find ones at that), you simply set it on the stove and let it simmer away until serving. Earthy and hearty, this is a go-to sauce for spaghetti, as a filling for vegan lasagna, or spooned over steamed veggies
  2. Curry Lentils with Rhubarb - There are a lot of spices here, but it's worth it if you can obtain them. The spices are exceptional in flavor, and rhubarb is a fun addition to a savory meal.
  3. Easy Mushroom Red Lentil Meatballs - These baked mushroom and red lentil meatballs are surprisingly nutrient-dense, packed with protein, fiber, and flavor but requiring just a few simple, inexpensive pantry staples! Oil-free, dairy-free, optionally gluten-free, and perfect for enjoying with spaghetti, in a sub, and more!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Spicy Lentil Kalamata Dip in a white bowl against a white background

Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread

Roxane McNulty
This Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread is perfect as a dip when it's freshly made warm and as a spread for sandwiches when it's cold. It is deliciously creamy with hints of warmth and heat. The Kalamata olive bits give it pops of saltiness and fruity sweetness!
5 from 24 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Moroccan
Servings 6 servings
Calories 81 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • ½ cup of brown or green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoons of coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil
  • ½ cup of onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ cup of Kalamata olives chopped very finely
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the water, lentils, bay leaf, and coriander seeds to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaf and drain the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cooking water.
  • While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook and stir for an additional minute. Transfer to a food processor.
  • Place the cooked lentils, 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, and cumin in the food processor and blend until completely smooth, adding the final tablespoon of the cooking water if needed. (It will thicken considerably once it's been refrigerated). Remove the blade, add chopped olives and mix well. Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Notes

  • Remember that green lentils take longer to cook than brown ones. So make the necessary adjustment to your boiling time.
  • If you want to add more flavor to your lentils, boil them in vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Do not overcook your lentils! Make sure that you let them gently simmer after bringing them to a boil. Overcooked lentils will be mushy, which will make the spread watery and less creamy.
  • You can make the dip spicier by adding more red pepper flakes to the mixture. If you want it kid-friendly, you can omit it too.
  • Once the cooking water is added, the spread may look a bit too thin. Do not worry; it will thicken as it chills, which will give you the perfect consistency for spreading.

Nutrition

Calories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 96mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

About Roxane McNulty

Roxane is a culinary school graduate, professional pastry chef and devoted mama of an adorable toddler - She loves cooking and baking tasty, healthy plant-based food that is kind to our bodies, the earth and the animals! She also runs her own website, Roxane's Natural Kitchen

View all posts by Roxane McNulty

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jay says

    Delicious recipe! Looks so good!

    • Andrea White says

      It's such a tasty spread!

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