November 13, 2011

Spring lentil salad

I am beyond excited about our upcoming move, and have probably bored most of my poor Twitter followers with a weekly countdown ever since we signed the contract (9 weeks ago!). We have three more weeks to go now, if all goes to plan, before we finally get the keys into our new home. As eager as I am to pack up our current home of 5 years, I am a little bit concerned about my little kitchen garden and how all the growing produce will like the move. Especially the tomato plant has really come to life in recent weeks and I will have to be extra careful transporting the plant into our new home. Once there, they should have no reason to worry, however, as our large north-facing balcony should provide much sunlight throughout the year. I am planning to start growing more veggies, herbs and a citrus tree or two once we've settled in. 


But for now, I am using up as much as fresh herbs from our balcony garden as I possibly can and this fresh spring lentil salad is a wonderful way to use up the most prosperous two - mint and parsley. I've cooked the vegetables ever so lightly in some coconut oil, just to get the edge off, but to keep them crunchy. You want this to be fresh and fragrant, not sad and mushy. Beluga lentils are a wonderful companion, but you could certainly use green/brown lentils as well. This is delicious on its own, but you could toast some spiced sunflower seeds as an additional crunch, if you wish.

Spring lentil salad
(serves 2-4)

200g Beluga lentils
2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil
2 bunches asparagus
2 zucchinis
4 shallot greens
fresh mint
fresh parsley
1/2 avocado
1/2 lemon, juiced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
flaxseed oil, to serve

1. Cook the lentils in plenty of boiling water until just tender (20 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. In the mean while, prepare the vegetables. Chop the asparagus in 2cm pieces (discard the woody ends), chop the zucchini into similar size pieces and cut the shallots finely. 

3. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet and add the asparagus, zucchini and shallots. Season the vegetables with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook only for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Toss the lentils and the vegetables, drizzle in the lemon juice and add chopped avocado and finely chopped fresh herbs. Drizzle with some flaxseed oil, if desired. Ideally you should let the flavours develop in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving, but this is tasty as it is, served in room temperature.