Whenever I go to the UK I always try and pick up a few ingredients that are either super expensive or hard to source in Finland. On my last trip, out of the 23 kg weight limit of my luggage, probably only 8 kilos consisted of my clothes the rest were food items! One thing I brought back was a box of merchant gourmet’s Puy Lentils. I wish Puy lentils were used a little more in Finland. I love lentils and Puy lentils have a delicate peppery flavour that don’t turn to mush after they are cooked. I love this warm salad as the lentils suck up all the flavour of the dressing and they are a great base to the Baharat spice mix. If you have’t come across Baharat before, it is widely used in the Middle East, think Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, where it is often used as a dry rub for meat. Baharat usually contains Paprika, Coriander, Black Pepper, Cumin, Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, and Cardamom, although recipes vary. It is possible to buy it as a ready mix, or you can easily make your own spice mix.
This salad works really well warm as a main course or starter, I roasted cauliflower and broccoli, but you could easily swap these for any other vegetable that roasts well and is a little sweet to counter act the tangy lentil dressing. I also found the salad is still super tasty cold the next day.
Warm Puy Lentil Salad with Baharat Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli – serves 2
100 g Puy Lentils, rinsed
5 dl vegetable stock
3 cloves of garlic
Olive oil for roasting
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Baharat
400 g broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tbsp of Lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
3/4 dl olive oil
50 g mixed nuts, toasted (I used almond, walnuts and cashews)
a generous handful of mixed herbs (I used mint, basil and tarragon)
2 tbsp mixed seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Place your veg and garlic onto a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil, the Bharat seasoning, salt and pepper and mix until coated. Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 mins until the veg is cooked and charred.
Cook the lentils in the vegetable stock as per their instructions, until they are tender but still have some bite.
To make the dressing, squeeze out the roasted garlic from their skins and mix with the mustard, lemon and olive oil, season to taste. If your lemon is super sour you can always add a little honey or maple syrup, but remember the roasted veg and nuts adds a little natural sweetness.
Pour the dressing onto the cooked lentils and stir to allow the lentils to soak up all the flavour. Add the roasted veg, nuts, seeds and herbs(reserve a little for decoration) and carefully fold in, so as not to mush everything up.
Serve with a final sprinkling of nuts, seeds and herbs