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This is one of our lunchtime stalwarts.  A hearty Puy lentil salad that doesn’t take long to put together once you’ve got the carrots in the oven.  It’s a toothsome combination of flavours:  Earthy (the lentils), sweet (the carrots) and salty (the feta cheese).

I was introduced to the pleasure of Puy lentils in salads by Nigella Lawson’s fantastic recipe for Puy Lentil, Goat’s Cheese and Mint Salad in her book Forever Summer.  This follows a very similar template – puy lentils, a roast vegetable and cheese dressed with oil and lemon juice.  If you want to create your own dishes but aren’t very confident this is a great way to start.  Spot the ‘pattern’ of a recipe and substitute.  For example, you won’t go far wrong if you switch the puy lentils for chickpeas or cannellini beans and use cubes of roast aubergine or fennel instead of the carrots or red peppers.  It’s pretty safe that you’ll end up with something edible and from time to time you’ll discover a perfect combination that you’ll still be cooking in years to come 🙂

Puy Lentils

In this recipe I usually use ready-cooked Puy lentils from Merchant Gourmet but you don’t have to.  You can replace them with about 100g dried Puy lentils.  Rinse them, put them in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil.  They usually take about 25 minutes to cook but start checking them from about 20 minutes because you don’t want them to go mushy.

The exact amount of feta doesn’t matter.  The lentils are filling and a good source of protein so even if you’ve only got a small piece of feta to use up it will still add that salty punch that we’re looking for.

Roast Carrot, Feta and Puy Lentil Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 red onion
  2. 2 carrots
  3. 250g sachet of Merchant Gourmet Ready-Cooked Beluga or Puy Lentils (or about 100g dried Puy lentils cooked)
  4. Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  5. 1 tsp cumin (you can substitute curry powder)
  6. 100g feta cheese
  7. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
  2. Cut the carrot into 1 inch chunks and then cut each piece lengthwise into small sticks.
  3. Put the carrot in a small roasting tin and toss with the cumin or curry powder and 1tbsp olive oil. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. Cut the onion into fine slices and fry in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft.
  5. Add the lentils and cook to heat through.
  6. Mix in the roast carrots and lemon juice.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and crumble the feta over the top.
Cheese and Chickpeas http://cheeseandchickpeas.com/