Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I’d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasn’t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.

It’s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite ‘comfort meals’ again; maybe it’s the cool evenings or the insight that we’re about be plunged into cold dark nights, but there’s something about this time that has me craving big hearty salads and soups.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I love lentils… sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint – it’s pretty evident from the amount of lentil recipes I have on this blog.

I love this time of year for salads like this wonderful quinoa and lentils with vegetables, it’s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.

I’m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when there’s still light out to bring dinner down to the beach or eat out on the balcony.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad
Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

This is a well-rounded salad that can be adapted to include your favourite vegetables and legumes; use peas instead, or carrots or roast your fennel first for caramelized sweetness – I did this a few weeks ago.

I usually precook the lentils and quinoa and store them in the fridge, and reheat them when I’m ready to make the salad.

I use whatever vegetables I have on hand; with this salad it’s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

I make plenty so there’re leftovers for the rest of the week because I love this salad more after a day or two, it gets even more wonderful when the ingredients have had a chance to get to know each other better.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

We spent last weekend getting our little balcony summer ready.We’ve had many wonderfully long sun-filled days – the neighbourhood is awakened, with the beaches and parks are bustling with people. It feels decidedly like summer now.

Our local farmers’ market started last weekend; that to me is the sign of summer’s start; the vibrant and cheerful energy of the open market, fresh local produce – colourful and abundant, it all just feels very summer-ry.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

I snagged the most beautiful bunch of radish not quite sure what to make with them, I brought them home, saw my copy of Jerusalem and I just knew… I went back out and got tomatoes, cilantro and parsley – I was going to make Ottolenghi’s spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad again.

This is one of the very first recipes I tried from the Jerusalem cookbook; it seemed so simple and unfussy.
I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the flavours melded.

I love this salad because it’s refreshing and tasty and plays well with the warm aromatic spices in the chickpeas.
I also love how easy it is to put together and the fact that it uses simple and nourishing seasonal produce.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Colourful meals eaten on lovely sunny balconies will make for happier people…

I want to stretch out on my little patio with salads like this, enjoy the lovely views and perhaps fall in love with my quirky neighbourhood again

That’s my wish for this summer, and for unending bright days that make everything seem possible.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

 
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

It’s amazing the difference a day makes, yesterday was so sunny and amazing we were convinced spring had come, and the dreary winter had finally bowed out.
We ran around like kids, giddy with excitement, and exploring the city like tourist. I stayed out until dark, and walked home when the city lights lit up the night.

And yet this evening we battled angry winds and bitter rain; I couldn’t get home fast enough.

I wanted to make a big salad as soon I got through the door, a soul-soothing rainy day kind of salad.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

I cut and prepped vegetables, listening as the rain beat down the window.

Pearl or Israeli couscous (Ptitim) are much larger in size and firmer than North African couscous, it’s closer to rice and holds it’s texture when cooked.
I like to toast it for a few minutes in coconut oil until it smells wonderful, and then cook it just like rice, can be cooked in a rice cooker too.

The herby aroma of fresh thyme really compliments this simple salad.
The vegetables are usually whatever I have on hand, but I always add the sweet corn and olives because the flavours round out and brighten the salad.

I finish it off with a simple lemony dressing, a handful of dried tart cherries and nutty toasted coconut; I reckon a cheese lover wouldn’t mind some crumbled feta on top.

I like cheerful salads like these at this particular time of the year, it makes me hopeful for spring and sunny days, and it’s warm and comforting for cold rainy days.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

Farro and Lentil Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette

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I’m creature of habit, that is not to say I’m boring, I’m adventurous enough (i think), I just tend to repetitively drift into familiar and comfortable routines – which is why I go to New York at a certain time of the year, every year.

I got my ticket a few weeks ago, and along with my list of new and daring exploits, I’ll be crisscrossing the city revisiting old haunts.
Predictably, I’ll spend an afternoon on the High Line, I’ll get a haircut at Miss Jessie’s and I’ll probably eat macarons at the park and visit a museum. And how can my sweet tooth resist Momofuku’s Milk Bar?

I know I’ll go to Eataly for breakfast, and because I liked it so much the last time, I’ll also have the farro and vegetables again for dinner

IMG_2967 Lentil and Farro Salad
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Eataly is where I discovered farro, and when I got home last year, I wanted to make Farro everything! Remember this four bean salad with farro?

Farro is the earthy nutrient-rich grain that adds a rich and nutty texture to salads, risottos and soups and can replace rice or pasta in just about any recipe. I love farro for breakfast too – cooked overnight in coconut milk with a dash of nutmeg, sweetened with maple syrup or honey and topped with nuts and fruits.

Then there’s this farro salad… another favourite; with hearty lentils and sweet peppers, onions, roasted corn, carrots and sundried tomatoes dressed in a luscious and bold parsley vinaigrette – a simple warm salad, toothsome and colourful. A thing of beauty…

A few notes on this salad – personally, I love onions, but not everyone is crazy about raw onions in their salad, sautéing the onions before adding them to the salad, would not only tame the onions, it’ll give the salad a rich sweet boost.
So while the farro and lentils are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in skillet over medium heat and cook the onions for a few minutes (stirring occasionally) until nicely caramelized, set aside to use later on when assembling your salad

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Also, salt the farro and lentils when cooking them so that it’s nicely seasoned before adding to the salad.
Go here to learn how to cook farro, and here for lentils

If the vinaigrette seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it here before, and I’ve made it several times subsequently – sometimes with cilantro.

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Four Bean Salad with Farro

 
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I remember we grew beans when I was a child; we had a small wild field of black-eyed peas next to our house.
One of my favourite memories from childhood is of harvest time when my siblings and I were let loose to pick beans.
After several of our crops had failed, my dad grew the beans for its drought tolerance and the nitrogen it releases, which is good for the soil.

I’ve loved and eaten beans all my life and added to few varieties to my repertoire as I’ve discovered them.
I didn’t really give chickpeas much regard until I was an adult, and now, it’s my favourite beans.

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My little pantry constantly has an assortment of beans, mostly leftovers from other recipes – usually not enough to make a whole meal, but put them all together and you get something like this four bean salad with farro.

I must admit, the farro was an afterthought, orphaned from a farro and lentil salad I’d made.
Farro is new to me, I had it for the first time last April in New York, I was so enamoured with it I came home, bought a giant bag and made everything farro; from soups to porridge. Cooking farro was a little tricky for me until I found this guide. It was always a little too tough.
Although farro isn’t prominent in this salad, it still has a bit of chew and nuttiness.

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I use chickpeas, black beans, pinto and white beans in this salad, feel free to use whatever kind you have if you decide to make this salad; make a three-bean salad or a five-bean salad… And if you have problems with digesting beans, soak them overnight to help reduce its gas-causing sugars.

The salad itself is very easy to put together once you get your beans, canned is fine too. I used my favourite vegetables – onions, celery, peppers and sundried tomatoes, it’s a simple and flavourful salad, and let’s not forget nutritious.
The dressing is light yet peppy from the mustard, cumin and cayenne pepper.
This to me is comfort food, great for lunch or dinner; effortless, delightful and filling.

Four Bean Salad Four Bean Salad & Toast


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