Saturday, July 11, 2009

Recipe: Lentil, Broccoli and Orange Salad

Lentil, Broccoli and Orange Salad

The oranges add a sweet note to this hearty, crunchy salad. Serve as a side dish or with crusty bread or pita as a light meal. There are lots of ways you could vary this salad: swap out the broccoli for sweet pepper or cucumber, or try a different fruit instead of the orange--strawberries or peaches would be an interesting twist. Crumbled feta would really make it sing; I'm sad I didn't have any to add this time.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side

1 cup lentils*
chicken or vegetable stock (optional, for cooking lentils)
1 head broccoli
1 large navel/seedless orange, or 2 smaller oranges
1/2 head (approx.) romaine or other sturdy lettuce
juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
sunflower seeds for garnish

This is a make-ahead recipe since the lentils need to be cooked ahead of time to cool down and for the flavours to mingle.

Rinse the lentils in a large bowl or pot (I use the pot I'm going to cook them in) and pick them over to check for stones. Cover with about 1" of water and stock if using. (I chuck in a few icecubes worth of frozen chicken stock. It adds more flavour to the pot.) Add a bit of salt unless your stock is salted. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. When they're cooked, drain off any excess liquid and set the pot aside.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Chop the broccoli into small florets and the orange into...pieces. I don't get fancy with it. Wash the lettuce and tear into pieces, but don't add it to the salad until you're ready to serve it. (If you're planning on serving the salad much later, I would probably wait to prep the lettuce, but a couple of hours wrapped in a towel in the fridge isn't going to harm the lettuce too much, and it means less work later.)

Make the dressing: squeeze the citrus juice into a small bowl and add both the vinegars and the olive oil. Add some salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and see if it needs more oil.

Pour the dressing over the cooked and drained lentils and stir to combine. Fold in the broccoli and orange, and stash it in the fridge for a few hours. (3? ish?) When it's time to eat, heap the lettuce on a large plate or in a bowl and place the lentil mixture on top. Garnish with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

* I used tiny black "beluga" lentils, but french ones will work well too, as well as ordinary green or brown lentils. Don't use red lentils as they'll turn to mush.

No comments: