Updated: Apr 26, 2021
This is the last of the heavy cold weather salads we enjoyed a few weeks ago and I am just getting around to posting it. I have been eying this salad for some time and wanted to end the winter salad season with this beauty. A hearty salad with the lentils and roasted carrots, but one that absolutely pops with flavor. The earthy lentils and carrots are brought alive by the balsamic, preserved lemons and tart apples and the salad finishes with the mild heat from the chilies. It is a beautiful confluence of flavors on your palate. This salad is hearty enough to serve as a meal, but it can also work well as a side dish too. Although this salad has a long ingredient list, it is super simple to make. This salad is from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Diana Henry. This is one of her cookbooks from which I have not cooked much, I only got it a few months ago, but plan on doing more from it going forward. This cookbook in particular is full of super simple recipes with flavors from around the world. My recommendation is to get all of her cookbooks, yes I do have have them all and absolute love the flavors and recipes from each of them. She also posts some amazing recipes on Insta, follow her.
For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.
For the carrots:
1 lb young carrots, in a mix of colors if possible, kept whole if very tender, or cut into long pieces
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper to taste
for the lentils:
Green lentils, Du Puy lentils or any green lentil, whole mung beans or whole green mason dal
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 small bay leaf
For the salad:
1 red chili, deseeded and very finely cut
1 preserved lemon (dhoop limboo), seeds removed and finely diced
1/2-1 tablespoon of preserved lemon juice
1-2 tart apples, Granny Smith or any green apple, cut into thin batons right before you serve the salad
Juice from 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
1/4 cup mint leaves, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro. shredded
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, white version preferrred
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon honey
To make the Carrots:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Layer the cut carrots in a single layer on a foil-lined baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray with the olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, the carrots should have roasted on the outside but still have a slight crunch on the inside. As a variation, I also roast the chilies at the same time. Remove and set aside.
To cook the beans:
‘In a sauce pan add the beans, bay leaf and garlic to water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 12-15 minutes, till the beans are cooked but still firm. No mushy beans please. Drain, cool in a dive with cold water and remove the bay leaf. Set aside.
To make the dressing:
Mix all ingredients. Taste for tartness and salt. You want a good balance of flavors, do not overload the balsamic as the salad will get a tremendous pop of sour from the preserved limes and the balsamic tends to dominate the salad.
To assemble the salad:
There are a number of ways to assemble this salad. Here is how I do it, but feel free to improvise. Mix the cooked beans with the dressing and chopped preserved lemons, herbs, roasted chilies and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed. The herbs should be quite dominant and add a wonderful herby and floral flavor to the beans. Add the mixed beans to a shallow wide bowl, you will have some extra dressing in the mixing bowl, pour it over the beans. Arrange the carrots around the beans and at the last minute cut the apples and add them as a layer between the beans and the carrots. Bring to the table and toss well before serving.