Roman Lentils & Coriander

This recipe is an excerpt from “Around the Roman Table” by Patrick Fass. For more info see the University of Chicago page. Garum appears regularly in Roman recipes and in the unlikely event you don’t have any, use salt instead.


  • 250g lentils
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 leek
  • 75g fresh coriander
  • 5g coriander seed
  • 3g peppercorns
  • 3g dried mint or mint seed
  • 3g rue seed
  • 75g fresh pennyroyal, or mint
  • 10ml garum
  • 10ml vinegar
  • 5ml honey
  • olive oil


Wash the lentils and put them into a saucepan with 2 litres of cold water.

Bring to the boil, and skim off the scum. When the water has cleared, add the leek and half of the fresh coriander.

Grind the spices and the other herbs, and add them with the garum, vinegar and defrutum to the pan.

Let the lentils simmer until they are almost cooked.

Check the pan every now and then to ensure that the water has not evaporated.

At the last minute add the olive oil, the freshly ground pepper and the remainder of the chopped coriander.

Back to Recipes