Puy lentils make a fantastic base for any salad and go very well with most vegetables. Try circles of carrot cooked Vichy-style (simmered in water, butter, salt and sugar until nicely glazed and soft) or courgettes and red peppers, brushed with olive oil and griddled. You could try stirring some cauliflower florets in olive oil and smoked paprika and roasting for 10 minutes before mixing with the cooked Puy lentils – and then tossing the salad in some plain olive oil. If you don’t have fresh ingredients to hand try some artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes from a jar – and use the oil from the jar as a dressing.
Keeping it simple
This recipe is very simple – just the lentils, aubergines and broccoli with a tangy soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger and lime dressing. I always have a packet of Puy lentils in the cupboard – they only take 15-20 minutes to cook, so you can rustle up dinner or lunch really quickly and then use any leftovers for a packed lunch the next day. The hardest part of this recipe is not to over cook the lentils – make sure they stay whole. Don’t let them go mushy, they’re best with a bit of bite.
This is a vegan recipe (today is the last day of Veganuary after all) but the lentils are also delicious with feta cheese or cooked meat, perhaps a little bit of chorizo. I think the Puy lentils are the star of the show though, so I like to keep my list of ingredients fairly short.
I love this recipe as a warm salad – if you add the dressing when the ingredients are just cooked, the flavours are intensified.
Keep the broccoli a vibrant green by boiling it for 3-4 minutes and then plunging it in ice cold water. It can then be heated up again by stirring in with the other vegetables. I don’t waste the broccoli stalks – chop them up and cook them with the rest.
These quantities make a generous portion for 2 people.
- About 150g Puy lentils
- 1 large aubergine
- 3-4 stalks of broccoli
- Sesame oil
- A big ‘thumb’ of fresh ginger, grated
- Soy sauce
- Juice of half a lime
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Dice the aubergines and toss in about a tablespoon of sesame oil. Spread on an oven tray and cook for about 15 minutes until soft.
- Cook the broccoli by boiling for about 3-4 minutes. Plunge into iced water.
- While the aubergines are cooking, rinse and sieve the lentils. Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with three times their volume of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
- Drain the broccoli and add to the lentils for about 20 seconds to heat through. Drain the lentils and broccoli into a salad bowl or serving platter. Add the cooked aubergines and mix well.
- Mix 2 dessert spoons of sesame oil, the fresh ginger, 3 dessert spoons of soy sauce and lime juice and pour over the salad ingredients. Mix well.