This salad had all the components for a delicious mid-week meal; it was bursting with flavours and textures, alongside being delicately spiced. The warmth of the lentils transformed it from a packed lunch to a light and tasty supper and it took hardly any effort or energy at all. There was still time to relax after work, make some mulled wine and prepare for the day ahead…No excuses!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- Puy lentils, mung beans or any other lentils/beans you have in your cupboards
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Half an Avocado
- Half a Red Onion
- A Large Handful of Kale (roughly chopped)
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
- Water (?)
- 2 Poached Eggs
- 2 Cherry Tomatoes (Grilled)
- Half a Teaspoon of Ras el hanout
- Half a Teaspoon of Cumin
- 3 Cloves of Garlic (we love garlic)
- Salt and Pepper
- A Small bunch of chopped coriander
Depending on which type of mushrooms you’ve gone for (dried or fresh) your preparation will vary. If you have gone for the dried shiitake mushrooms (which have definitely won us over recently – they’re so packed with flavour!) then you will need to soak these for a good few hours. We say the longer the better; if you can soak them when you wake up, then they should be good and ready for your meal that evening.
Once soaked and therefore soft, chop these into slices and set aside. Then finely chop your garlic, red onion and coriander. Heat up a medium sized saucepan with whatever oil you choose (we went for coconut to infuse the vegetables a little more), and then add your onion, garlic and mushrooms.
Once these have browned and softened slightly, pour in the lentils/beans and stir for a minute or so whilst your water is boiling to make up your stock.
Pour in the stock slowly and ensure that the heat is kept low! Treat lentils similarly to risotto rice – it’s a slow and gradual process in which the flavours infuse gradually and the ingredients soften. It makes us wince watching people make risotto when the heat is up full blast and the entire dish is whipped up in 20 minutes or so…A slow and low heat is key for perfect taste and texture!
Stir in your cumin, raz el hanout and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the lentils are about five/ten minutes from being finished, throw in the roughly chopped kale and coriander and put your cherry tomatoes under your pre-heated grill to soften. Leave the lentils on an even lower heat for the last few minutes whilst you boil water and poach your eggs (if the mixture has reduced too much and is thicker than you would like, add in a couple of splashes of water and adjust the spices and seasoning to your taste).
When your eggs are a couple of minutes off, slice your avocado and start plating up. We put the lentils into the bowls first, followed by the eggs and then layered the sliced avocado delicately on top. We topped it all with a sprinkle of pepper, some fresh coriander and the grilled tomato – delicious!