Recipes / José Andrés’s Santorini Lentils (Yellow Split Peas)

José Andrés’s Santorini Lentils (Yellow Split Peas)

By Mark Bittman

Published January 22, 2024

Easy to make, and even José acknowledges that this is good when made with ordinary lentils or split peas; of course, if you can find Santorini split peas, use them. They may be labeled Santorini fava, but you can substitute Indian yellow dal or ordinary yellow or green split peas.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
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Sometimes simplest is best. Once, when I was taping my old show, How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs, with José at Zaytinya, he sent the crew just about every small dish on the (very large) menu for lunch. Of the literally forty or fifty small plates scattered on the table, this dish was among the most appealing, a simple bowl of cooked yellow split peas (José calls them lentils) well-flavored with olive oil, lemon juice, and crunchy shallots.

José shared this recipe when he joined us on Food with Mark Bittman.


Make The Recipe!

José Andrés’s Santorini Lentils (Yellow Split Peas)

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Makes 6 servings 1x

Time 45 minutes, largely unattended

Units Scale


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 pound Santorini fava, yellow split peas, or yellow dal
  • 2-inch piece carrot, peeled
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste


  1. Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a wide-bottomed pan and turn the heat to medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Bundle the cooked onion with the bay leaf, thyme, and black peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth and tie securely.
  2. Wash the “lentils” thoroughly, then put them, the cheesecloth-wrapped aromatics, and the carrot in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil and cook at a lively simmer, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to a minimum and cover. Cook another 10 minutes or so, then turn off the heat.
  3. Discard the spice bag and the carrot, drain the lentils if necessary, and mash or semi-puree them, using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. (The recipe may be made up to 1 day in advance to this point; cover and refrigerate.)
  4. Warm the puree before serving, and serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with capers, shallots, chives, the remaining olive oil, and lemon juice.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs