Roasted Lemon Chutney

A beautiful roasted lemon chutney from Molly Steven's book, All About Roasting.

Roasted Lemon Chutney

Whatever I share today 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 California’s Highway 1 for a couple nights on the Mendocino coast.

lemon chutney smeared on sourdough toast on a kitchen counter

Roasted Lemon Chutney: The Inspiration

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 once I was back home.
cabin detail, a hand-sewn curtain
drive to cabin along ca highway 1

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. Back home, no applesauce, chutney instead, no regrets whatsoever.

lemon slices arranged on a parchment lined baking sheet

How To Make Roasted Lemon Chutney

Making this chutney is quite straight-forward. You roast thin, olive oil-brushed lemon slices until they’re tender and browning. You transfer the roasted lemons to a food processor along with  some shallots and olive oil. Season and finish with some fresh herbs - you're good to go.

lemon peel and olive oil in a food processor

Roasted Lemon Chutney: So Many Ways

There are so many ways to use this mildly puckery magic. I slathered the chutney on thick slabs of toasted bread with a good amount of whipped goat cheese - that's what you see in most of these photos. But really, there are so many other things you can do with it.

lemon chutney smeared on sourdough toast on a kitchen counter

A couple more ideas: a dollop stirred into brown rice, chopped sautéed spinach, topped with a fried/poached egg and a touch of soy sauce. Or, incorporated into a bowl of hot pasta. Or, inside a savory crepe. Or, tossed with hot roasted potatoes, or baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes, or homemade gnocchi. You get the idea. It's super versatile, and I hope you like it as much as I did.

lemon chutney smeared on sourdough toast  served along with soup on a wood table
Here are a few other pics from our weekend away, below. The drive was pretty wild. We decided to cut over to the coast on a different road than usual. Wow - one of those decisions I'm glad we made, but probably won't repeat. Not quite dirt roads, but close!

coastal california beach on misty day

view through cabin window with handmade curtains

ingredients on wood cutting board near kitchen sink

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Roasted Lemon Chutney

5 from 1 vote

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
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F / 205°C with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  2. Soak the shallots in a small bowl of cold water to reduce their strength a bit.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


It is incredible how each and every of your recipe inspires me to run to the kitchen. They all end up in bookmarks, and when I make them, they always become regular. This lemon "chutney" reminds me of a recipe from Ottolenghi's first book. It is not vegetarian, a chicken roasted with spices, lemons and red onions: the roasted lemons were absolutely irresistible to me.


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.


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


i love how you incorporate your travels, both near and far, into your posts. this made me miss norcal so very, very much! thanks for the moment of nostalgia. and the chutney looks amazing - will be trying it very soon! i love anything with lemon. :)


My kind of recipe and breakfast. Out of curiosity, did u bring the little cuisinart or was it in the kitchen with the cottage? The pictures are gorgeous.
HS: Hi Jeannie - I made it when I got home with my standard (but ancient) food processor. My dad handed his down to me when I left for college.


i love mendocino. haven't been in ages. and this lemon chutney sounds so good to me! i'm excited for molly's book. as usual, love your photos. xo


I saw the beach path sign and I started to cry!!!! Did you stay at the Mar Vista????? I grew up one driveway south, my mom still lives there. I tramped up and down that path my whole childhood, although as we kids got older, we would follow the creek and go through the tunnel under Hyw 1 and scramble down the waterfall! Oh the memories! I now live on the east coast, but that coast, THAT SPOT is home. The tide pools are amazing! Did you hear the sea lions? Thanks for the photos. Oh and there is no real good way to get there without hairpin turns at some point! That's how the locals like it :)
HS: We did :)...Love your note. I love that part of the coast. One of my favorite places I've been to, & I feel lucky to be so close. Sometimes we camp at Salt Point as an alternative, but that can get really cold. I think I prefer the little cabins ;)

Marina Merrick

I love Mendocino, but I remember getting so car sick one time it took me an hour to feel better. This is a very unusual recipe but it must taste great.


That sounds good - but to me (British) it's not a chutney! I think that what I call chutney you'd call pickle; I'm not sure what I would call your recipe, other than delicious...... I'm about to make jam and lemon curd and if I have a lemon or two over, I might have a go at this. Looking forward to seeing your photos and report on your London trip, by the way.

Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

This looks absolutely wonderful. I know this will become a recipe to come back to time and time again. Bring on an hour in the kitchen.


What a great idea for chutney! Growing up, we had all kinds of chutney all the time with dinner, but never one made out of lemons. And pairing it with goat cheese sounds absolutely divine. So inspired, thanks for sharing!

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

The chutney sounds extraordinary. Do you think rosemary instead of basil or mint would work? (The rosemary at the local grocery store down the street tends to look better than the basil at the time of the year.) p.s. the first beach photo is especially great.


thanks for sharing this recipe. So much stuff has been done to death that gets posted, but this one is such a novel recipe and probably pretty versatile in it's use too. Sincere thanks! Pics are beautiful as always too..

yogi kitchen

I love to put preserved lemons on everything, and I imagine this lemon chutney has a similar appeal. I do like the idea of honey mixed in for a bit of sweet depth. Love the beach pictures- so grey and moody!

la domestique

I love the windowsill you've been shooting on lately, especially the lighting. I'm so jealous! I wish I could pop up to the Mendocino coast for the weekend like you. Unfortunately it would require a flight out from the east coast for me to visit. I've got it in my mind for a trip to SF with a detour to Mendocino. My plan is to get a hotel room with a kitchen in SF and go to the Ferry Plaza market. Go up to Mar Vista in Mendocino which you shared with us long ago. And bring home Rancho Gordo beans and other delicious things. Hope this happens soon.
HS: Sounds like a fantastic plan Monica :)


Oh wow. I'm in the throes of planning a possible trip up to Mendocino, and your photos look amazing! That part of the coast is so gorgeous. To say nothing of your lemon chutney, which sounds unusual and wonderful. Lovely post, Heidi!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

the next time life gives me lemons, i will make chutney.

lynn @ the actor's diet

I love to put preserved lemons on everything, and I imagine this lemon chutney has a similar appeal.i will definitely try it....


I really love the sound of this. Roasted lemon chutney sounds so unusual, but so delicious too as I absolutely adore lemons. Obviously this recipe was calling out to you to make it, and I am so glad you did. I am going to try this too. Thank you for sharing! :D

Jennifer (Delicieux)

I think my mom would love this, since she is a big fan of citrus. It looks unexpectedly pretty on those slices of bread.


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