As you may recall, I am not fond of legumes. As in, I won’t eat them. Unless someone has cooked them for me and even then it is usually because I don’t want them to think I am rude and stop inviting me. This, however, is a sorry state of affairs. I am a grown woman and should really be able to embrace such an elementary food group. If whole continents survive on little else than rice and beans, then surely I can learn to like, even love, some of them?
With that in mind, I have set myself a challenge. By the end of this year, I must have a list of ten different recipes with legumes that I love. Not just like, love. As in: if these were human, I would consider moving in with them. Or write them a love song. In fact, it would be perfect if I found a bean-recipe that inspired me to write a love song. Because the world needs more songs about beans. Won’t someone get on that?
As a first step on my way to meeting the challenge, I made a lentil salad, based on the lentil dish I describe here. And while it isn’t love, I liked it enough to save the leftovers and eat them the next day. Not a bad start, eh?
Lentil Salad with Cilantro and Grilled Peppers
Serves 2 as a side, 1 as a main
½ cup of Puy lentils
2 roasted red peppers from a jar, in strips (or freshly roasted)
crumbled feta to taste, optional
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp of tasty olive oil
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vinegar, if you are using freshly roasted peppers or peppers from a jar that don’t have vinegar
Put lentils in a saucepan, cover with water (lentils should have plenty of water to dance around in) and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. Put cilantro leaves in a mortar and add a pinch of salt (this makes grinding them easier). Grind with a pestle until all the leaves have been reduced to a pulp. This shouldn’t take long; a minute or two should do it. Add garlic and pound that to a pulp too. Add vinegar (if using) and olive oil and stir to mix.
When the lentils are tender, drain them and immediately pour over the cilantro mixture. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool to room temperature. When cool, add strips of roasted pepper and toss gently. Serve with feta crumbled on top, if you like.