Sweet potato and lentil salad
Can you believe that it's October already? Time really does fly. It's been about a month and a half since I started photographing and posting recipes here and I have to say that I've been having a great time learning all about the wonders of food blogging! But onto more serious things now: this roasted sweet potato and lentil salad recipe.
You might be thinking - really Katherine, a recipe for salad in fall? I don't know about you, but I like to enjoy salads year-round, especially when they include some good seasonal ingredients. This salad is packed with all kinds of great things - hearty lentils, roasted sweet potatoes (my personal favourite), baby zucchini (which could be substituted with winter squash later on in the season) and roasted red peppers.
The inspiration for this recipe came from an impromptu brunch at the Craftsman Cafe in Bermondsey. This place is absolutely tiny with only a few seats, but the stylish decor and relaxed atmosphere makes for a great lazy weekend brunch. I also love the fact that they focus on locally-sourced products. At the cafe bar they had a selection of beautiful quiches, tortillas and salads as well as a baked goods and tasty coffee options. I went for a trio of salads along with a slice of tortilla, and one of the salads featured sweet potatoes and lentils. I took a mental note and tasked myself with creating my interpretation of the salad at home.
I made this salad last weekend as part of the spread for my engagement party, and it went down really well. I also imagine that it would make a great vegetarian side or main for Thanksgiving dinner. On that note, a very happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!
Sweet potato and lentil salad
This salad makes a great healthy lunch or dinner. It also keeps well in the fridge for a couple days. I used du puy lentils, but beluga lentils or green lentils would also work well. If you are short of time, you could also used store-bought ready-cooked lentils. I used store-bought roasted red peppers packed in oil, but you can certainly substitute them for home-made roasted red peppers (slice the peppers in half, rub with oil and seasonings and roast cut-side down in the oven until charred). If making ahead, wait until serving before adding the arugula.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups du puy lentils, picked and rinsed
- 15-20 baby zucchinis, sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 large roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup garden chives, chopped
- 5 large hand fulls arugula
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 12 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 tsp dijon mustard
- 4 tsp borage honey
- 4 sprigs lemon thyme, leaves picked
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly on a roasting tray, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and tender.
Once the sweet potatoes are in the oven, place the lentils in a medium soup pot. Cover with about twice the amount of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils, rinse with cold water and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the baby zucchinis cut-side down, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden, tossing a few times - about 5 minutes. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your pan.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, cider vinegar, dijon, honey, lemon thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl or glass jar. Whisk until emulsified.
When you are ready to assemble the salad, place the sweet potatoes, lentils, baby zucchinis, roasted red peppers, chives, and arugula in a large salad bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette, and toss gently to combine.
Serves six to eight as a main, more as a side.