Middle Eastern Lentil Salad

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Once a week, I try to cook a vegetarian meal to mix things up, decrease the amount of meat we have and increase our intake of legumes and lentils (as these make a great protein alternative for meat, fish or poultry). This meal ticks all these boxes.

This meal came about when I was searching for a Middle Eastern Lentil dish, but wasn’t happy with what I found, so I did some experimenting and this was the end product, and I must say it is quite delicious!

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I would like to say that the kids love this, (Mark did the first time he had it) and I think they probably would if there were just one of them, but they always tend to feed off each others opinions of meals. For example, if Mark gets up to the table and says “I don’t like it”, before even trying it, Claire will automatically say “yuck!”, and so the fun and the bribery begins….”if you have 5 mouthfuls, you can have some strawberries on you yoghurt”, and so on…

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This salad is also a great option for lunch, so if you are making it, save some for lunch the next day. I also think the flavours are further enhanced the next day.

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
  • 300g pumpkin, cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-2 cm slices and cut into quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of dry green lentils
  • 1 tin of brown lentils, drained
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbs coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs dill, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 50 g feta or goats cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbs currants
  • 1 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • Natural yoghurt to serve

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place eggplant in colander and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Mix and leave for ~30 minutes.
  3. Place green lentils, 1 tsp of cumin and 1 clove of garlic in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Once cooked, drain, discard garlic.
  4. Place zucchini, pumpkin and eggplant into a plastic bag, add a drizzle of olive oil and toss around to coat.
  5. Place vegetables onto a baking tray and cook for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Heat fry-pan over medium heat. Add 1tbs of olive oil, garlic and onion and cook for ~ 5 minutes.
  7. Add cumin, coriander, fennel and paprika and stir to season pan. Don’t allow it to burn.
  8. Add the juice of half a lemon, the green and brown lentils and honey and stir for 3-4 minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and place lentils into a large bowl.
  9. Place currants into a small bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
  10. Once the vegetables are cooked, add them to the lentils.
  11. Mix through the dill, coriander, feta, pine nuts and dress with remaining olive oil and lemon juice and mix gently.
  12. Serve into bowls with 1 dsp of natural yoghurt.

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