Easy does it: seven simple new Yotam Ottolenghi recipes (2024)

One person’s idea of cooking simply is the next person’s culinary nightmare. For me, it’s about being able to stop at my greengrocer on the way home, pick up a couple of things that look good and make something within 20 or 30 minutes of getting in. My husband, Karl, on the other hand, has a completely different idea. If we’re having friends over at the weekend, he’ll want to spend a good amount of time prepping and cooking as much as he can beforehand, so that very little needs to be done when our guests are here.

There are other approaches, too. Esme, who tests my recipes, prefers to be in the garden at weekends. Her idea of simple cooking is to put something in the oven on a Saturday morning and leave it simmering away, ready to be eaten four or five hours later. My colleague Tara, on the other hand, can’t relax without knowing that a meal is ready a full day before it’s due to be eaten: sauces are in the fridge, stews in the freezer, vegetables are blanched or roasted and ready.

Whatever our take, it all looks effortless and easy when friends and family come to eat in our respective kitchens. But that’s only because we’ve worked out what makes cooking simple, relaxing and fun for us. This idea, then – that there’s more than one way to get a meal on the table – is what my new book Ottolenghi Simple is all about.

And, no, it’s not a contradiction in terms. I know: I’ve seen the raised eyebrows, I’ve heard the jokes. The one about the reader who thought there was part of a recipe missing because they had all the ingredients in their cupboard. Or the one about “just popping out to the local shop to buy the papers, milk, black garlic and sumac”.

I hold up my hands, absolutely. There have been lists to make and ingredients to find, but, truthfully, there’s not a recipe to my name that I feel sheepish about. Cooking, for me, has always been about abundance, bounty, freshness and surprise. Four big words to expect from a plate of food, so a single sprig of parsley was never going to cut the mustard. That’s the reason I’m so excited about these recipes: they’re still distinctly “Ottolenghi”, but simple in at least one way – and very often more than one.

Iranian herb fritters

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These can be snacked on at room temperature, or served with a green tahini sauce and some extra herbs. To make the tahini sauce, just blitz together 50g tahini, 30g parsley, half a crushed garlic clove, two tablespoons of lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt in a blender, adding 125ml water at the end. (Holding back on the water allows the parsley to get really broken up, and turns the sauce as green as can be.) This is lovely spooned over grilled meat, fish and roast vegetables, so double or triple the batch: it will be fine in the fridge for up to five days. You might need to thin it with a little water or lemon juice.

These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid, using whatever herbs you have to hand. As long as you keep the total net weight the same and use a mixture, they’ll work wonderfully. The batter will keep, uncooked, for a day in the fridge.

Alternatively, pile the fritters into pitta bread with yoghurt, chilli sauce, pickled vegetables and tahini. If you go down that route, you’ll just need one fritter per person. The recipe makes eight fritters to serve four to eight.

40g dill, finely chopped
40g basil leaves, finely chopped
40g coriander leaves, finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cumin
50g fresh breadcrumbs (ie, from about 2 slices, crusts left on if soft)
3 tbsp barberries (or currants)
25g walnut halves, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
8 large eggs, beaten
60ml sunflower oil, for frying

Put everything bar the oil in a large bowl with half a teaspoon of salt, mix well and set aside.

Put two tablespoons of oil in a large, nonstick pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add a ladle of batter per fritter into the oil, cooking a few fritters at a time – you want each of them to be about 12cm wide. Fry for one to two minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside while you repeat with the remaining batter and oil.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chickpeas and swiss chard with yoghurt

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Comfort food at its best, especially when served with steamed rice. Don’t worry if you don’t have coriander: it’s a nice little garnish, but the dish holds its own perfectly without. Make this up to six hours ahead, if you like, up to the point before you add the lemon juice and yoghurt. Assemble just before serving and serve at room temperature or just warmed through. Serves two.

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
45ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
1½ tsp ground cumin
200g swiss chard leaves, cut into 1cm-thick strips
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed (230g drained weight)
1 lemon – juice half of it, to get 1 tbsp, and cut the other half into 2 wedges, to serve
70g Greek-style yoghurt
5g coriander leaves (about 1¼ tbsp), roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Mix the carrots with a tablespoon of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a grind of pepper. Spread out on an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for 20 minutes: they should still be a little crunchy.

Put the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, then fry the onion, caraway and cumin for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Stir in the chard, carrots, chickpeas, 75ml water, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for five minutes, until the chard is soft and hardly any liquid is left in the pan.

Turn off the heat, stir through the lemon juice, and serve with a generous spoonful of yoghurt, a sprinkle of coriander, a drizzle of oil and a wedge of lemon.

Whole roast celeriac with coriander-seed oil

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I’ve managed to achieve the seemingly impossible here, of taking a recipe from my Nopi cookbook and making it more complicated – by adding one more twist in the form of coriander seeds. I like to eat this as a starter, cut into wedges and served with a squeeze of lemon or a dollop of creme fraiche, but you can serve it as a side to a pork chop or steak. Serves four.

1 large celeriac, hairy roots discarded (no need to trim or peel), scrubbed clean (1.2kg net weight)
50ml olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle
1½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Flaked sea salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Pierce the celeriac all over with a small sharp knife, about 20 times in total, then put it in a baking dish and rub generously with the oil, coriander seeds and two teaspoons of flaked salt. Roast for two and a half to three hours, basting every 30 minutes, until the celeriac is soft all the way through and golden brown on the outside.

Cut into wedges and serve with a wedge of lemon, a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of oil.

Orzo with prawns, tomato and marinated feta

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I return to this time and again, for easy, one-pot suppers. Orzo is the little pasta in the shape of rice – easy to eat a lot of and widely available. If you start with prawns in their shells, keep a few heads on, just for the look. The marinated feta is lovely dotted over salads, so I tend to make a batch – it keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Serves four.

200g feta, broken into 1-2cm pieces
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
75ml olive oil
250g orzo
Salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 strips finely shaved orange peel
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
400g raw shelled prawns
30g basil leaves, roughly shredded

In a medium bowl, mix the feta with a quarter-teaspoon of the chilli flakes, two teaspoons of the fennel seeds and a tablespoon of oil. Set aside while you cook the orzo.

Put a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, the orzo, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Fry for three to four minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to the same heat and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of chilli flakes, two teaspoons of fennel seeds, the garlic and the orange peel. Fry for a minute, until the garlic starts to brown lightly, then add the tomatoes, stock, 200ml water, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Cook for two to three minutes, or until boiling, then stir in the fried orzo. Cover, then lower the heat to medium low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the orzo is cooked. Remove the lid and cook for one to two minutes more, until the consistency is like a risotto. Stir in the prawns for two to three minutes, until they turn pink and are cooked. Stir in the basil and serve at once with the marinated feta sprinkled on top.

Beef sirloin and basil salad

This works as an impressive starter, as a lunch or light supper. All the elements can be prepared a day in advance and kept in the fridge; just don’t put the dish together until you’re about to serve. Serves four.

50g basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
135ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 x 200g beef sirloin steaks, each about 1.5cm thick
2 pitta breads, roughly torn into 3cm pieces
2 red chicory, leaves separated, then cut in half lengthways on the diagonal
40g rocket
3 tbsp lemon juice
60g parmesan, shaved

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Put half the basil in the small bowl of a food processor with the garlic, 75ml oil and a third of a teaspoon of salt, and blitz to make a thick dressing.

Season the beef well with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Pour a tablespoon of oil into a medium frying pan and put on a high heat. When the pan is very hot, sear the beef for three to four minutes (for medium-rare), turning once halfway through. Remove from the pan and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining three tablespoons of oil to the same pan and place on a high heat. When hot, add the pitta pieces and fry for two to three minutes in all, shaking the pan from time to time, until golden and crisp all over. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Put the chicory, rocket, lemon juice, parmesan, basil oil and remaining basil leaves in a large serving bowl.

To serve, cut the beef against the grain into ½cm-thick slices. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and add to the salad bowl. Add the pitta pieces, toss gently and serve at once.

Bridget Jones’s pan-fried salmon with pine-nut salsa

Easy does it: seven simple new Yotam Ottolenghi recipes (6)

This is the dish Patrick Dempsey’s character tells Renée Zellweger’s Bridget Jones that he would have brought her on their imaginary second date in Bridget Jones’s Baby. “From Ottolenghi,” Dempsey says, “delicious and healthy!” And easy, we might add. What sounded like a bit of product placement on our part was in fact no such thing: the recipe didn’t even exist on our menu, so this is a retrospective acknowledgement. Serves four.

100g currants
4 salmon fillets, skin on and pin-boned
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
4 celery sticks, cut into 1cm dice, leaves removed but reserved to garnish
30g pine nuts, roughly chopped
40g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their brine
40g large green olives (about 8 in total), pitted and cut into 1cm dice
1 good pinch saffron threads (¼ tsp), mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 1 tsp

Cover the currants with boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.

Mix the salmon with two teaspoons of oil, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.

Put 75ml olive oil in a large saute pan and place on a high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts, and fry for four to five minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, because they burn easily). Take the pan off the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these with the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, lay in the salmon fillets skin side down and fry for three minutes, until the skin is crisp. Turn down the heat to medium, flip over the fillets and fry for two to four minutes more (timings will depend on how much you like the salmon cooked), then remove from the pan.

Arrange the cooked salmon on four plates and spoon over the salsa. If you have any, scatter the reserved celery leaves on top, and serve.

Nutella, sesame and hazelnut rolls

Easy does it: seven simple new Yotam Ottolenghi recipes (7)

Two assumptions here. One is that everyone has a jar of Nutella somewhere, and second that making your own dough and rolling it up into all sorts of deliciousness is easier than it looks. The result is somewhere between a cake and a biscuit, best enjoyed as a treat with a cup of tea or coffee. The dough is delicate, so it’s important you soften the Nutella until it’s nearly runny before spreading it. These are inspired by a similar pastry served at Landwer Cafe in Tel Aviv. Makes 10 rolls.

150g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
¾ tsp fast-action dried yeast
1½ tsp caster sugar
3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing
¼ tsp salt
65ml lukewarm water
40g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
20g sesame seeds, lightly toasted
150g Nutella, softened (in the microwave or gently on the stove, until easily spreadable)
1 small orange – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp
2 tsp icing sugar

Put the flour, yeast, sugar, two tablespoons of oil and the salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Gently pour in the water, then, using a spatula, bring the mixture together until combined into a dough. Transfer to a lightly oiled surface and, with lightly oiled hands, knead the dough for three minutes, until soft and elastic. (You may need to add a little more oil if it starts to stick to the surface or your hands.) Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 240C/465F/gas 9. Combine the hazelnuts and sesame seeds in a small bowl and set aside one tablespoon of the mix.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 40cm x 30cm rectangle, so that the longest side is towards you and parallel to the work surface. Using a spatula, spread the dough with the Nutella, leaving a 2cm border clear on the top edge. Sprinkle the orange zest evenly over the Nutella, then scatter over the sesame and hazelnut mix. With the longest side still towards you, roll the dough into a long sausage. Brush with the remaining tablespoon of oil, then sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sesame and hazelnuts (gently press these into the dough, so they stick). Trim the ends, cut the roll into 10 3cm-long segments and lay seam side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for about eight minutes, until golden brown, then dust with the icing sugar and leave to cool slightly before serving.

Fish sustainability varies by species, region and fishing or production method. For the best sources of salmon and prawns, check the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide

Recipes taken from Ottolenghi Simple, published by Ebury Press at £25. To order a copy for £18, go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846.

Commenting on this piece? If you would like your comment to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazine’s letters page in print, please email weekend@theguardian.com, including your name and address (not for publication).

  • This article was edited on 4 September 2018, to correct the amount of salt used in the preparation of the salmon, and on 11 February 2019, to correct the amount of salt in the basil salsa to go with the beef.

Easy does it: seven simple new Yotam Ottolenghi recipes (2024)


Is Ottolenghi A Vegan? ›

The guy's an omnivore but his recipes are overwhelmingly vegetarian and vegan. His vegetarian (not vegan) cookbook Plenty< spent years near the top of Britain's bestseller lists.

How many cookbooks does Ottolenghi have? ›

find Yotam on

He has co-authored and published eight cookbooks, including Plenty and Jerusalem, SIMPLE , FLAVOUR , and his latest, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. Ottolenghi is also a weekly columist for The Guardian.

How did Ottolenghi become famous? ›

In 2002 the pair opened Ottolenghi, the famous delicatessen in Notting Hill, which became an instant hit for its use of unique flavour combinations and fantastic produce paired with Middle Eastern opulence.

Does Ottolenghi have a new cookbook? ›

Ottolenghi fans, rejoice: 2024 will see the release of a brand-new cookbook from the acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and bestselling author.

What religion is Ottolenghi? ›

Yotam Ottolenghi was born to Jewish parents in Jerusalem and raised in its Ramat Denya suburb, the son of Michael Ottolenghi, a chemistry professor at Hebrew University and Ruth Ottolenghi, a high school principal. He is of Italian Jewish and German Jewish descent and often spent his childhood summers in Italy.

What is surprisingly not vegan? ›

Honey. Honey is a controversial food for many vegans. Bees do produce it, and it is also a food source in the hive. Because bees produce it, and bees have died to make it, honey is not considered vegan.

Are Ottolenghi recipes difficult? ›

We cook a fair amount of Ottolenghi recipes at home, because he's one of the regular food writers in our regular newspaper (The Guardian). They are usually fairly simple recipes that focus on a good combination of flavours - even as home cooks, they're not nearly the most complicated things we make.

Is Ottolenghi a Michelin star? ›

So far, his books have sold 5 million copies, and Ottolenghi - although he has never even been awarded a Michelin star and without being considered a great chef - has successfully blended Israeli, Iranian, Turkish, French and, of course, Italian influences to create a genre that is (not overly) elegant, international, ...

Who owns Ottolenghi? ›

Ottolenghi began in a small shop in Notting Hill in 2002. Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were at the helm, creating a food shop, deli, restaurant, and bakery. It became a place with no single description but was a clear reflection of our obsessive relationship with food.

What are the criticism of Ottolenghi? ›

The only real criticisms heard by the industry about Ottolenghi's earlier books were that that the ingredients lists were too long, and the recipes too complicated. "So Simple was simply genius," says Jane Morrow. Each book is very much a hands-on process, with a core team of long-term collaborators.

How rich is Ottolenghi? ›

Key Financials
Net Worth£1,543,770.00£2,059,381.00
Total Current Assets£1,938,410.00£2,461,994.00
Total Current Liabilities£406,652.00£412,497.00

Does Ottolenghi have a restaurant in NYC? ›

London-based chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi will not be opening in New York, or anywhere outside of London for that matter, in the foreseeable future.

What size is the Ottolenghi book? ›

19.8 x 3 x 27.2 cm

Why did MasterChef stop the cookbook? ›

Cookbook publisher Bloomsbury Absolute has stopped selling former "MasterChef" contestant Elizabeth Haigh's debut cookbook following allegations that she plagiarized content from another cook. The cookbook, titled "Makan," was Haigh's first foray into the publishing world and was initially released in July.

What is Ina Garten's newest cookbook? ›

Go-To Dinners

Cooking night after night during the pandemic inspired her to re-think the way she approached dinner, and the result is this collection of comforting and delicious recipes that you'll love preparing and serving.

What type of food is Ottolenghi? ›

From this, Ottolenghi has developed a style of food which is rooted in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions, but which also draws in diverse influences and ingredients from around the world.

What does Gordon Ramsay think of vegan food? ›

Chef Gordon Ramsay, who has been known for teasing vegans, confessed on TV that he actually "loves" plant-based food. The British TV personality and the world-famous chef made his vegan confession on the US series of Masterchef: Back to Win.

Is flexitarian vegan or vegetarian? ›

What is a flexitarian diet? A flexitarian diet refers to someone who is a “flexible vegetarian.” It does not encourage completely removing animal-based foods. Instead, it encourages eating plenty of whole plant-based foods, while having the option to add meat in small quantities as desired.

Why is falafel not vegan? ›

Since falafel is prepared with chickpeas, herbs, spices and alliums, it is vegan. However, falafel is sometimes served in wraps which may not be vegan, or with yogurt- or dairy-based sauces, so be sure to seek out vegan-friendly accompaniments.


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