Celebrate the Year of Pulses 2016 with my fast, fresh & fab Lentil, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad recipe.
The nasty, hot weather continues here in South Australia, challenging any plans I might have had to bake or cook all but the simplest meals – with salads high on the agenda. I was extra happy with this Lentil, Walnut and Goats Cheese Salad that I knocked up the other day. It answered all my requirements for a fast, fresh and very tasty meal and had the added bonus of making me feel just a little pious for being so healthy.
As it happens, the 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses – a move aimed to raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses, their sustainability and the role they play in food security and nutrition.
Pulses (an annual, leguminous crop which includes lentils, beans, peas and chick peas) are a significant Australian success story. We have the climatic diversity to grow a broad range of this valuable and sustainable crop and Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of pulses.
Pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids and are high in dietary fibre, have a low glycaemic index, contain antioxidants, are gluten-free and are enormously versatile to cook with. There’s not much you can’t do with them – from simple hummous made from chick peas, to delicious brownies made from black beans, putting them in any and all casseroles, tagines, stews, soups and salads or even using the liquid from cans of chick peas (called aquafaba) as an egg substitute in baking.
Fortunately, I have a good supply of Adelaide chef Simon Bryant’s excellent range of Dirty Inc. chick peas and lentils on hand – the perfect way to increase the nutritional density of any dish. Dirty’s range includes baby red lentils, Kabuli chick peas, red nugget lentils, baby blue lentils, aquadulce broad beans, Bengal gold channa dal and red massor dal – all sustainably produced and most of single origin and traceable.
For my Lentil Salad I used the Dirty Inc. baby blue lentils – a French puy-style lentil – and Woodside Cheese Wrights goat chevre. The blue lentils generally need to be soaked overnight (I forgot, so soaked them for 6 hours during the day which was fine). If you do forget to soak them and run out of time, just add extra water when cooking and cook for a little longer.
Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad
- 1 cup cooked baby blue lentils
- 2 celery sticks chopped
- 1/2 Telegraph cucumber chopped
- 3 spring onions finely chopped
- 1/2 large red capsicum finely chopped
- 1/2 cup semi-dried tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint finely chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts roughly chopped
- 100 gms soft goat cheese
- 4 Tbsp EVO
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper
- Combine all salad ingredients, except the cheese and nuts, in serving bowl and toss together.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over, tossing through immediately before serving.
- Add the cheese and nuts and toss gently.
- Season to taste.