6/26/2012

The Lentil Salad to Die for, with Mangoes and Arugula


What in the world would summer be without salads?  Yes, a rhetorical question.  The answer being obvious.  When we are wilting, possibly melting into a puddle of sweat on the kitchen floor, who in their right mind wants to turn on that blasted oven?  No one, that's who.  We start thinking, from our nice lie down on the cool floor, of various and sundry salads.



This one begins with a foundation component of healthy flavor and protein, the lentils called in France, du Puy, renowned for holding their little shapes whilst being tossed about in a bowl with compatible associates.  We don't want mushy here.  This is not a curry.  It is a carefully composed work of art, with jewel like color, varied textures and loads of flavor.




The sweetness of mango, real tang from a spicy mustard vinaigrette, tomatoes and red onion, heft from meaty lentils, the crunch of red bell pepper, toasted pine nuts and celery.  It is all there.  Who could ask for anything more?  Mustard seems to be a feature of most lentil salads.  An essential pairing, I'd go so far as to say.  And having recently discovered the ease of making my own, I'll encourage you to to give that a try.


The Best Ever Lentil Salad
Adapted from a My New Roots recipe

1 cup du Puy lentils
( for 2-3 servings)

Rinse the lentils well and cover with 3-4 inches of water.  Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, and watch carefully after about 15 minutes (that's all mine took).  You want al denté, not al musho.  A little bit of tooth to those babies.

Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 heaping Tbsp. mustard, preferably a strong country variety
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Shake the dressing well in a covered jar.  It will make enough for several salads.  Add to the cooked and drained lentils while they are still warm for better absorption of flavor.  Toss with your fresh fruit and veggies.



Various possible add-ins:
1 cup diced fresh mango or pineapple
Arugula
Pine nuts, lightly toasted
blue or goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small  red onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons capers



 I didn't put any cheese in this one, going for a lighter effect, but feel free to do that if you want.  Most definitely this will be re-appearing on a regular basis around here.  Way fantastic I have to say.  Connecting it up with My Meatless Mondays, so check out that link for creative cooking ideas.

2 comments:

Swathi Iyer said...

Claudia,

Mango is my weakness and adding them into a lentil based salad delicious.

Joanne said...

I couldn't live without summer salads! And I love including fruit in them...especially mango!