Roasted Lemon Chutney Recipe

A beautiful roasted lemon chutney from Molly Steven's new book & some Mendocino coast photos.

Roasted Lemon Chutney

I have so many photos to share with you I'm not quite sure where to start. AND I have more film to pick up today. Can't wait. Anyhow, I'm thinking that whatever I share needs to somehow circle back to the roasted lemon chutney I've been slathering on everything this week. I made it from a gem of a recipe tucked deep in the back of this book. The book was part of the stack of magazines, novels, and cookbooks I brought to read last weekend when we popped up the coast for a couple nights on the Mendocino coast.

Lemon Chutney Recipe

Let me tell you a bit about the trip. The drive was pretty wild. We decided to cut over to the coast on a different road than normal. Wow - one of those decisions I'm glad we made, but probably won't repeat. A few of the things we experienced: plenty of single-lane hairpin turns, one pair of wild turkeys, end-of-day sunlight streaking through the redwoods and ferns, and(!) a huge buck leaping in front of the car in a blur of massive antlers. The road opens up to a sweet little general store on the coast where you can hear the seals and/or cows bellowing in the distance. You'd think it'd be easy to tell which is which, but not so much.

In the mornings, I'd sit in our little cottage, coffee in hand, and read with the front door open. Top of my pile was Molly's new book - All About Roasting. Molly is a friend, and this follow-up to her much-loved All About Braising, was eagerly anticipated by yours truly (and many of you, I'm sure). Her Roasted Apple Sauce jumped out at me immediately, and I was all set to make it.

Now, I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but I kept glancing at the Roasted Lemon Chutney recipe, which lives a few pages back from the applesauce - and here we are. No applesauce, chutney instead, no regrets whatsoever.

Lemon Chutney Recipe

I slathered the chutney on thick slabs of toasted bread with a good amount of whipped goat cheese - that's what you see in the photos. But really, there are so many other things you can do with it. A couple ideas: a dollop stirred into brown rice, chopped sauteed spinach, topped with a fried/poached egg and a touch of soy sauce. Or incorporated into a hot pasta bowl. Or, inside a savory crepe. Or, tossed with hot roasted potatoes, or baked potatoes. You get the idea. It's super versatile, and I hope you like it as much as I did - thank you Molly :)!

Lemon Chutney Recipe

More pics to come, hopefully from the film I'm picking up tonight. Fingers crossed. -h

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Roasted Lemon Chutney

Molly notes that because you use whole lemons here, you're going to want to wash them first in warm soapy water to remove any waxy reside. Organic lemons usually don't have that, so (for that reason, and others) go that route if possible. The chutney will last for several days, refrigerated, in a jar or tightly covered.

1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g finely chopped shallots
3 small lemons (4 to 5 oz each)
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon honey, plus more to taste
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil or mint

Heat the oven to 400F / 205C with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Soak the shallots in a small bowl of cold water to reduce their strength a bit.

Set one of the lemons aside to use later. Slice about 1/4-inch off both ends of the remaining lemons and discard (this part is mostly pith which can make the chutney too bitter). Slice the lemons into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (see photo), and use the tip of a knife to remove any seeds. Arrange the lemons on the baking sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil. Turn and coat the second side with oil.

Roast the lemons, turning every 10 minutes, until they are very tender with just a few spots of brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Don't let the lemons crisp, and keep an eye on the bottoms, which tend to brown before the tops. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Transfer the lemons to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. If there are any juices (not burned or blackened) on the baking sheet, add these. Molly notes there frequently aren't any, which was my experience as well. Drain the shallots, shaking off any excess water, and add to the processor. Add the honey and pulse several times until the lemons are coarsely chopped. Add the juice from half the remaining lemon and the 1/4 cup / 60 ml of olive oil. Continue pulsing until the chutney is fairly smooth and creamy, with just a few lemon chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper and more lemon juice or honey to taste. Keep tweaking until it really tastes great to you. For example, if it's too tart for you, just keep sweetening a bit at a time. Transfer to a small bowl and let sit for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld. Just before serving stir in the fresh basil or mint, taste, make any final adjustments, and serve at room temperature.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Adapted from Molly Steven's All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art, W. W. Norton & Company, November 1, 2011

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Apologies, comments are closed.


"sunshine in a jar" !!!!


This looks terribly delicious! I've never tried to make chutney before, but I'm feeling motivated after reading your words and seeing the results. Thank you for all you share.

How refreshing, I love lemon so I will give this a try!


Wow! I've never cooked the chutney, and yours seems delicious! I'm italian, so when I see "olive oil" in the recipe of non-italian cooker I get excited quickly! Great shots, as always..

I'm impressed you are using film and scanning photos... I didn't expect that. I still use film too but I have rolls of undeveloped film because I can't afford to get them developed at the moment or find time to go into the darkroom (I have got mostly black & white).

Love your site, love your suggestions and recipes...thank you so much! Can you tell us of this drive, a little more information. We often drive the coast and always looking for new routes to and from! Thanks!

Patrick Price

Heidi, Do you scan your negatives or your prints? I love your work and I noticed your shots all have a very distinct feel. I was wondering if that's the particular film you are using (I've seen lovely saturation like this in porta 400 film) or is this post processing? At any rate, it's very distinctly 'Heidi' and very beautiful. Regards, Linda
HS: Thanks so much Linda. With film, I typically use provia 400x e6 for color, and kodak 3200 b/w - then scan whatever I want to use (if it is going to print/book project), sometimes I'm lazy and just use the low-res scans I get from the lab if a shot is going to go online. That said, this post is a mix of film / digital. In either case - I don't do much/any post-processing - just a bit of color balance/ exposure compensation if needed. Thanks again for the nice note.

Linda NYC

P.S. I realise I may have offended people at the suggestion of meat and fish - very sorry.

Nina Elliott-Charles

This sounds stunning! I can imagine it being especially good with fish, or chicken served with whole roasted garlic bulbs. Thank you for sharing this, and your beautiful photographs.

Nina Elliott-Charles

Heidi, perfect timing! I am making your Winter Pasta recipe tonight and needed a little appetizer. Cannot wait to give this a go!

Very doable amount of lemons, even for those of us in Maine who have to grow them indoors — thanks for the recipe, as well as the cookbook recommendation!

Can't wait - my Meyer Lemon tree is heavy with fruit - this recipe sounds delicious - do you think it will freeze? I've got a bumper crop this year!

Lee Stein

Good day one and all, once again you have rained sunshine in the foodie world. This really sounds like a fabulous receipe that can change a regular dish into something new and refreshing. I now am wondering about doing this to tangerines, grapefruit and blood oranges. I believe this receipe will be apart of my holiday menu alongside my main dish.


I think I love the peeks into your life the most...your posts with tidbits of your world, your goings on, your travels. Your like the friend we all get to share who shows us all the cool things that is coming from your heart xo
HS: Great to hear from you Jessica. Please please pop me a note the next time you are in SF - it would be a treat to catch up in person. Hugs for Miss M. xo -h


Peggy, This recipe is not safe to can because of the oil. It also might have too many onions to keep the acidity high enough to can. I have had Molly's book for several weeks now and every recipe I have tried has been wonderful. Thanks for moving this one up the list of recipes to try.

Reminds me of a jam / chutney I bought in Puglia last year. It also contained red chilli peppers and red and black peppercorns, very delicious.


Sounds delicious - any reason this couldn't be canned in hot water bath (I'm thinking Christmas gifts, here...)?


This looks great. How would you make it if you don't have a large food processor? Living in NYC I don't have room. I have a mini processor I could use. But I wonder how chopping, or maybe a blender, would work. Thanks.


What an excellent idea if you don't have the patience to make preserved lemons. I know it's not the same concept but the flavors would definitely be in the same realm. Yum!

all I have to say is....yummy! Can't wait to try this.


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