Roasted Pepper, Butternut and Cherry Tomato Lentil Salad
& Falafels & Carrot and Harissa Dip:
I have been meaning to post these recipes for about two months now. I often cook a few dishes in one day and then take a whole lot of photos (save them on my hard drive) and then settle down to try all the food I’ve made that day. The theory behind this is that (1). if I have all the photos done and ready I’ll be able to post recipes more frequently and (2). I’ll have a whole drive of pics and recipes waiting to be posted at any time. Well, you see that’s the problem. I make the food, photograph it, eat it and then forget about it; I then end up cooking a whole bunch more and photographing a whole bunch more and then eating a whole bunch more but not posting a whole bunch more — half the recipes stay in storage waiting for such a day as today to be seen, and a day like to day comes very seldom.
I have, however, forced myself to post these recipes because they are actually nice and it is after all meat-free Monday! So enjoy these recipes they have been neglected and are in need of being made.
I simply love lentils and when prepared in a salad they are just too satisfying. Below is my recipe for a simple and deliciously healthy lentil salad. The salad is also great served with roasted or grilled chicken and a little tzatziki on the side.
Roasted Pepper, Butternut and Cherry Tomato Lentil salad:
1 cup chopped butter nut
1 red pepper
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling.
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 cup of lentils
2 cups of water
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar
a handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
In a large roasting pan add the chopped butternut, the red pepper (left whole) and the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, dried thyme and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the butternut is tender. Once cooled, peel the skin off the pepper and cut into strips.
Place the lentils, water, cumin, garlic, onion and a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Drain. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a bowl, place the lentils, roasted butternut, peppers and cherry tomatoes. Mix in the remaining olive oil (3 tablespoons) the white-wine vinegar and the chopped parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Carrot and Harrisa Dip:
This is a surprisingly delicious and usual dip. The first time I tasted it I wasn’t exactly sure what I was eating, I tasted great but was surprised to hear it was made out of carrots. It goes wonderfully well served on a meze plate.
200g large, red mild chillies (deseeded) – they must be quite mild, certainly not hot!
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of dried mint
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
30g of coriander leaves
4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt, to taste,
Dry roast the coriander and caraway seeds in a pan for a minute or till the seeds give off a scent – be careful not the burn them as they will become bitter if they get burnt. Now grind the seeds to a fine powder. In a food processor, or blender blitz the chillies, garlic and coriander leaves to a fine paste. Add the ground coriander and caraway and olive oil and blitz again quickly. Taste and add salt to taste.
Place the harrissa paste in a clean container and cover with olive oil. It should last for a fairly long time in the fridge. Add to soups, sauces or to salads.
Carrot and Harrissa dip
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into quarters
1 to 2 teaspoons of harissa paste
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 teaspoon of white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the carrots in a saucepan of water with a pinch of salt and boil till the carrots are soft. Puree the carrots in a food processor or blender. To the carrot puree, stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with flatbread.
All of these dishes go so well served together, it a great way to eat vegetarian food and makes a divine meze platter. Eating like this makes you almost not miss meat!
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon of harissa paste
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon of salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a food processor or blender, blitz the chickpeas to a fine crumbly paste. Add the remaining ingredients (except the vegetable oil) and blitz till all the ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the mixture up into balls roughly the size of golf balls. Flatten into patties.
Deep fry the falafels till golden brown; or fry in a shallow pan turning them when they turn golden brown. Drain on paper toweling.