My favourite thing about summer isn’t the beach or the warm, sunny weather. It’s not the longer days and mid-afternoon cocktails (although those things are wonderful too!). My favourite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from my garden and/or the local Farmer’s Market!
I LOVE making salads during the warmer months. They’re light, healthy, delicious and there are a million different ways to make them. I came up with a salad a few weeks ago for a get together at my place and everyone agreed it was very yummy. We snacked on this salad along with buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomato flatbreads, smoked salmon platters and grilled baguette slices topped with everything from mushroom duxelle to garlic and basil marinated cherry tomatoes. And of course the rose, bubbles and Sauvignon Blanc was flowing (: It was a perfect afternoon (and evening) on the patio spent with my favourite people, great drinks and wonderful food. My idea of HEAVEN.
This salad is incredibly versatile. If you really like an ingredient, by all means add more of it. If there’s a vegetable you don’t like, just leave it out or substitute it with something you do like. For example, you could use kale in place of cabbage or just use cauliflower if you don’t like broccoli. You could use cilantro instead of parsley and cashews instead of almonds…. You get the idea.
Have fun with this salad and enjoy it by itself or topped with some grilled chicken or fish for an amazing, healthy dinner entrée! Serve salad warm or chilled.
NOTE: I use the trio of organic lentils and the organic quinoa that you buy in bags from Costco so the cook times mentioned below are based on that specific type of lentils. If you’re using a different kind, ensure you follow the cooking directions on your package so you don’t over or under cook them or end up with tonnes of extra liquid (if you do, just drain it).
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large salads or 6 small)
Cooking in pot:
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1 cup cabbage (or kale)
- 1/4 cup white onion
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp curry powder (I used a mild curry but use whatever you love!)
- 1 1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp salt
Adding to above ingredients just before serving:
- 3 cups broccoli (or cauliflower or BOTH)
- 1/2 cup bell peppers (red, yellow, and/or orange)
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (or whatever amazing summer tomatoes you want!)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/3 cup cranberries (or raisins)
- 1/2 rough chopped unsalted almonds (or cashews)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL: 1/8 cup olive oil to finish
- Finely dice/chop carrot, garlic and cabbage OR just buzz in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Add olive oil, garlic, cabbage, carrot, salt, curry powder, and cumin into a pot and sauté on medium heat until ingredients are softened and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
- Add water (or stock) and bring to boil.
- Add lentils and quinoa and reduce heat to simmer.
- Simmer for 8 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop broccoli (and/or cauliflower) into bite sized florets and steam for 2 minutes MAXIMUM.
- Run under cold water or plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. You want the broccoli to still have lots of crunch!
- half or chop the tomatoes, dice the peppers into bite size pieces and chop the parsley.
- Once slightly cooled, transfer lentil mixture to large bowl and add vegetables, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice, chopped almonds and cranberries.
- Toss together to combine.
- Add feta and mix gently so the feta doesn’t fall apart and turn the salad ‘creamy’.
- Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice to your liking.
Transfer to bowls and serve on its own or topped with grilled fish or chicken. Enjoy!