A winter recipe that's kind to your waistline
A healthy winter salad ... puy lentils with labne.
Puy lentil and slow roasted tomato salad with labne and fresh herbs
Lentils are a brilliant pulse. Uber healthy, a great source of protein and fibre and basically an all-round great winter ingredient.
The trick is to used puy lentils – they are the best in terms of keeping shape and texture. From the area of France to the north-west of Lyon, they retain their shape when cooked and have a brilliant nutty earthy sort of flavour. And they are low maintenance – no presoaking, only a low key simmer in liquid for 30 minutes or thereabouts. Then when warm tossed with whatever may take your fancy, absorbing their flavours to create an incredibly comforting and satisfying result.
375g Puy Lentils
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp good quality red wine vinegar
5 tbsp chopped chervil
6 tbsp chopped chives
3 tbsp chopped dill
1/4 cup mint leaves pulled, loosely packed
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
100g pancetta, chopped
600g plum tomatoes (about 20)
12 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic glaze
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 130C. Quarter the tomatoes vertically and place skin side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Top with the thyme. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until semi-dried. Discard thyme and allow to cool.
Place the red onion in a bowl, pour over the vinegar and sprinkle over salt. Stir and leave for five minutes so the onion softens. Place the lentils in a pan of boiling water and cook until tender (twenty – five to thirty minutes). Drain well and sieve. While still warm add to a large bowl with the sliced onion. Add the olive oil, garlic and season with pepper and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly before adding the herbs and gently tossing the salad. Adjust the seasoning.
To serve pile up the lentils on a large plate or bowl, integrating the labhne, tomatoes and pancetta (if using). Drizzle the tomato cooking juices and dressing on top and serve.
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