Monday, July 11, 2011

warm lentil salad with roasted baby carrot and labne recipe



Throughout the year our dinner menu doesn’t change all too dramatically. Sure, we do tend to eat fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season, scoffing fresh corn for dinner every night in summer and brassicas in winter, but we aren’t a family that instantly turns to comforting and heavier foods come winter time. Every now and then I cook up a large pot of soup or some kind of stew, but nine times out of ten only Ada and I eat it. You see the boys in our family don’t like soups (mad I know), so I hardly ever make them these days. We eat things like lentil spaghetti and tofu stir-fry; rain, hail or shine. Oven baked chips, sushi and rice paper rolls also. We make and eat salad everyday, even when it’s freezing outside like today.




However, there are days when I have cravings for warmer foods. So I fix myself a salad like this for lunch when it doesn’t really matter what everyone else wants. I sit there eating warm lentil salad as the kids eat their boring vegemite on toast (Kye) or peanut butter on toast (Ada). I've got to give Ada credit though, she willingly tries everything I make and happily ate a good few spoonfuls of this one, I’m still working on the boy. He’s getting there. Our kids don’t venture off their standard toast path very often. Occasionally Ada will request avocado and tomato on toast, or scrambled eggs, while Kye loves eating avocados straight from the skin (like I do) and they both hang out for sushi lunches if we are out and about.




I like to use puy lentils (french green lentils) in salads as they don’t require soaking, are quick cooking and hold their shape better. But if you can only find or afford regular brown lentils they will be fine also. (Back home in NZ puy lentils are a “gourmet” item and cost a heck of a lot more than they do over here in Perth, so I’m making the most of them while I can!).
I’ve roasted up baby carrots even though I know they are out of season, I couldn’t resist them at the vege store the other day, but you could use regular ones, just sliced into thick slices or long strips. Chunks of roasted pumpkin would also be lovely.

You guys remember me going on about how much I love labne awhile ago eh? Well that obsession is still going strong. You can buy it at selected delis these days, but it’s ridiculously easy to make at home. I added a few chopped up herbs to mine before straining, but you can leave plain if preferred. If you have any excess simply roll it into balls, cover with olive oil and it will keep in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from a recipe in Australian Gourmet Traveller.




warm lentil salad with roasted baby carrot and labne recipe
As mentioned above use regular carrots and lentils if you like. Chop the carrots up into chunky slices or long strips. Roasted pumpkin would also be lovely. Feta or a soft goat's cheese would work in place of the labne if preferred, or left off altogether to make this dairy-free and/or vegan.
Serves 2-3 as a main or more as a side.

  • 1 bunch of baby carrots, washed and ends trimmed
  • 75ml (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) olive oil
  • 1 cup (200g) puy lentils
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) each of torn flat-leaf parsley and mint
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) baby spinach
  • labne and dukkah to serve, store-bought or recipe follows below

Preheat oven to 200 C/390 F. If a few of the carrots are larger than the others, slice them in half lengthwise then place all onto an oven tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden on the edges.

Rinse the lentils and pick over them to remove any little stones that may have found their way in there. Place into a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until just tender, drain and place in a bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) of olive oil in a small pan, add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent and tender. Take off the heat, add red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper then add to the lentils with the roasted carrots, herbs and baby spinach. Toss it all around, taste and adjust seasoning adding a little more salt, pepper, lemon juice or red wine vinegar if needed. Serve in bowls sprinkled with dukkah and dotted with spoonfuls of labne.


Labne
Soft herbs such as mint or parsley can also be mixed into the yoghurt before straining if you like, as can a little crushed garlic. Or for a sweet version check out this recipe here.

  • 2 cups (500g) thick plain yoghurt
  • a pinch of sea salt

In a small bowl combine yoghurt with a pinch of sea salt. Spoon into a clean square of muslin or cheesecloth. Pull up all four corners of the cloth and tie. Hang over a wooden spoon that is resting over a bowl or large plastic container (to collect the dripping whey). Leave in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hours depending on how firm you want the labne to be. Periodically check on the drip tray to make sure it's not overflowing, and empty if need be.

Remove from the muslin/cheesecloth and serve. It can be rolled into balls and stored in olive oil in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or eaten straight away.

Dukkah
Dukkah keeps really well in a glass jar in your pantry for a couple of months. This will make ample for what you need here. It's also lovely sprinkled over salads, steamed vegetables, boiled eggs, pan-fried tofu...

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (white)
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Preheat oven to 160 C/325 F. Place the hazelnuts, sesame seeds and almonds onto a tray and toast for 5-10 minutes until golden and fragrant.

Dry toast the spices in a pan over medium heat, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to roughly grind.

Recipe linked to:
~ Slightly Indulgent Tuesday @ Simply sugar and Gluten Free
~ Made from scratch Tuesday @ From Mess Hall to Bistro

11 comments:

  1. Yum!! I've wanted to try making labne for a while now - this looks so delicious Em xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. your spell checker :)July 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    beautiful pictures Em. The food looks damn tasty too, mmmmm mm!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks beautiful and delicious, as always :) I love lentils, and usually make them into some kind of warm salad with roast veges, but the labne is a great idea! This will definitely be on my meal plan for next week :)
    Hope Oz is treating you well, I'm sure the weather is better at least!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ohhh I almost bought baby carrots at the organic farmers market the other day - they were gorgeous! And I was eyeing off these lentils today too! Thanks for sharing, look forward to trying this.

    ~ melania

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks "spell checker" (aka brother Louie) there's fewer and fewer mistakes though eh? ;-)

    Amy~ I can't say Perth is any nicer than NZ right now! Cold and rainy (but not stormy tonight like NZ, thankfully).

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  6. love love LOVE this recipe. puy lentils are so yum! thanks. xx

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  7. that looks so delicious and sounds so flavorful! Thanks for linking up with Made From Scratch Tuesday!

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  8. Great dish, some of my favourite things are here :-)

    ciao
    A.

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  9. Yum, this looks like a great dish - I love salads like this, and this is my idea of the perfect winter meal for me. I don't really get into soups and stews much either - I like to eat salad all year round, simply veering more towards a salad which includes a few warm ingredients in the winter. This one is definitely going on my list :-)
    Sue xo

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  10. Have you seen the little bunches of purple and yellow baby carrots too? Wouldn't they look pretty piled on top of of your salad!

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  11. Aren't they cute as?! They would have looked awesome on this salad, agreed :-)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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