I have had a general disinterest in lentils for a long time, which is a little ridiculous for someone who flirts with Veganism once every couple of months. I can get myself comfortable with them in the form of a nice Dal but other than that I’ve been pretty ambivalent towards them because to me, there’s just not much going on in the way of taste or texture or ANYTHING when it comes to the humble lentil. And when you wrap this general ambivalence into having to deal with the nappies of a child who has eaten lentil bake, you move into ‘complicated relationship’ territory.
So there I was, shrugging my shoulders and muttering a nonchalant ‘BOF’ at lentils when MY MIND WAS BLOWN by my friend Sophie.
Blake and I had pottered round to see Sophie and her son Henry last week, and over the back-drop of two small boys playing and bickering, she’d offered to make some lunch.
‘Lentil and Cous Cous Salad?’
‘Sure’ I said, because I don’t dislike lentils, they’re just a bit blah.
And what she dished up was quite frankly a freakishly delicious, nutrious, filling salad. It was a revelation, and given the fact it is about as easy to make as it is to fart, I am hooked. I have made and eaten it every day since Friday, and given it’s nearly Summer (DID YOU HEAR THAT BRITISH WEATHER?) I thought you all might like to know about this bad boy so you can add it into your Summer Salad repertoire.
So here we go…
Sophie’s Lentil and Cous Cous Salad.
What you need to do is this…
Take yourself off to whichever Supermarket it is you frequent, and buy the basic ingredients that you think make up a good simple salad.
For me, this is a bag of leaves, plum tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber and avocado.
If you happen to shop at Waitrose, hot foot it to their swanky foreign goods section and pick up one of their pre-cooked Puy Lentil and Quinoa packs. They are the ones in the pink pack with the tear off top and the rather uninspiring brown contents which you MUST NOT LET FOOL YOU FOR ONE SECOND.
If you do not shop at Waitrose, you will need to buy some Puy Lentils, Quinoa and some stock cubes.
You should also pick up a pack of Ainslet Harriot’s Sundried Tomato and Garlic Cous Cous. If you shop at Aldi (HI) you want the knock off ‘World Foods’ version.
Then you should do the following:
If you have bought the Waitrose Lentil pack, you may skip step 1.
Step 1: get a pan of water boiling on the hob. Crumble in a stock cube. Dollop in about 5 tbsp of quinoa and 3 of lentils and simmer for somewhere between 7-10 mins. If you haven’t cooked Quinoa before, it’s cooked once it looks like it has burst out of it’s tiny shell, probably because that’s exactly what it has done. Drain and drizzle a bit of olive oil over to stop it sticking together in a big fat lump.
Step 2: boil a kettle
Step 3: bung a salad together and shove in a bowl. You know how that bit goes, chop chop bung bung.
Step 4: measure out 200ml of hot water from the freshly boiled kettle and dump the contents of the cous cous packet into it. Leave it be.
If you have the fancy lentils, complete step 5, otherwise move right on to step 6.
Step 5: tear top off fancy lentils and microwave according to instructions.
Step 6: bring it all together. Give the cous cous a fluff with a fork and then tip it into a container with the lentils and quinoa and give it all a stir to combine. Dollop however much you like on top of your salad.
Now, what Sophie did, which I have been doing because I think it is delicious, is drizzled some olive oil over the top. I think that’s all the dressing it needs, but James bunged some Soy Sauce onto his and then inhaled it in about the time it took me to say ‘Ooo, Soy, interesting.’ And I’d imagine it would be nice also with some lemon/lime juice. Go wild and experiment!
Devour and marvel at the transformation of the humble lentil. Bank smug points for having found a salad that will actually fill you up whilst remaining healthy.
I have no photo yet because I literally fall on it like a hungry velociraptor as soon as I have dished it up. Sorry.
dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused