Lentils are boring and rarely take a place on our dinner table. Still, they are highly nutritious, a very good source of cholesterol- lowering fibre and very low in fat; a superfood, as many nutritionists state.
We just need to find ways to make them more exciting. This lentil salad is a way to do exactly that. It is a balanced meal full of texture, color, aromas and taste that your palate and family will love!
- 1½ cup lentils (brown lentils preferably)
- 3-4 slices of bacon cut in small pieces
- 150 gr smoked cheese (or, goats cheese) in small cubes
- 1½ cup roughly chopped rocket
- ½ cup chopped lettuce leaves
- 2-3 finely chopped fresh onions
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon mustard (optional)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Wash lentils thoroughly and cook until tender in unsalted boiling water (cooking time varies depending on lentils). Drain and leave to cool.
- Put the olive oil in a big frying pan (a wok will also do), over medium heat, and frizzle the spring onions for 1 minute.
- Add the pieces of bacon to the pan and cook for another minute.
- Then, add the balsamic vinegar, the mustard and honey and let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The vinegar will start to thicken (vinegar reduction). Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- When the vinegar reduces down to a thick yet runny sauce, stir in the boiled lentils.
- Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down a bit.
- Place your greens into a large salad bowl and mix in the warm lentil mixture. Decorate with the cheese cubes and cherry tomatoes.Your salad is ready to serve!
Tip: Vinegar reduction
A balsamic vinegar reduction is a thickened vinegar made by cooking it down in a pan (over moderate heat) until it concentrates (reduces). This way even a low quality balsamic vinegar becomes fuller in taste and aromas.
For a basic balsamic vinegar reduction, the vinegar should be cooked until it is reduced by half of its original added volume.
For extra character, you can infuse different flavors in, like garlic, thyme, rosemary or any herb you like.