Salads

Italian Lentil Salad

Lentils is a house favourite, finding a way to weave into countless recipes. Having three vegan members now means pulses is the main source of protein. This salad is my personal favourite, because it really is a big meal on its own, and is flexible in terms of ingredients and works with most of the things you have in your fridge. This dish falls into the salad category even when you have literally no greens to work with. Lettuce and its variety have been scarce recently. I like to mix fresh and roasted ingredient together to get a balance of flavours and filling.

I cooked the lentils in leftover vegetable stock, but you can go ahead in plain water, and maybe add in some fresh herbs or a garlic clove – and juwt plain water is fine too! This is not the season for eggplants and so the ones I had were pretty miser, so I grilled them up to add in – like I said, this is flexible – you can add cauliflower, carrots, baby corns, boiled corn, peas, green beans (fansi) etc…. if you have greens such as iceberg lettuce, rocket leaves, radicchio, fresh parsley, fresh dill and the sorts. I also added a slice of lemon to grill along with the spring onions bulbs – lending a nice char to it.

To make this wholesome, you can throw in some crumbled cheese, Grana Padano shavings, boiled eggs… but we had this as a side salad to pasta night, so this stayed cheese-free this time!

The dressing is a nice fresh zingy one with lemon and I also added some tangerine flavoured olive oil. You can totally replace the lemon juice with orange juice, some fresh basil… like I said, this is almost a leftover/pantry recipe – have fun with it!

The Recipe
Serves Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 25 mins | Cook Time: 7 mins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soaked whole lentils (aakha masoor dal)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small long eggplants
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2-3 spring onions (bulb and greens)
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 slices lemon, quartered
  • pumpkin seeds
  • salt
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Place the lentils and stock on heat to cook the lentils – 15 minutes or so. Drain off the excess water and leave aside to cool completely
  • Chop the green capsicum and eggplants into bite-sized pieces
  • Cut the bulbs of the spring onions and half them
  • Take a medium pan and place on high heat
  • Add green capsicum first, sprinkle a little salt and cook for a few minutes, until slightly roasted and starts to char on the sides. Stir frequently
  • Remove from heat and place the peppers into the salad serving bowl
  • In the same pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, garlic and eggplants and cook until eggplants have softened
  • Remove the eggplants into the serving bowl and in same pan place the spring onions bulbs face down to grill, along with the lemon slices for 3-4 minutes
  • Remove from heat and place into the salad bowl – allow this too cool completely
  • Chop the green parts of the spring onions, and quarter the tomatoes and cucumbers slices and toss together with the rest of the salad, along with the lentils, pumpkin seeds and dressing
  • Serve chilled
  • Dressing:
  • Whisk all the ingredients together and chill until ready to serve