Refreshing salads are the choice of food for us, especially during the hot summer days. We have been revisiting this lovely green lentils salad often recently; healthy green lentils make the salad wholesome and filling. They also pair with the vegetables so well. Dried lentils are a year-round staple in our kitchen, essential for delicious salads like this during hot weather and hearty soups, like this Spicy red lentils soup, Ezo Gelin Corba, in the winter months.
I also added the aromatic fennel to this salad; its crunchy texture and mild anise flavor worked well in the salad. If you are not a big fan of fennel, simply omit it.
The star of the salad has been the delicious sumac; this tangy, lemony spice is often used in Mediterranean, Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking. Try this Piyaz salad with sumac, tomatoes and red onion slices with grilled vegetables and meat, utterly delicious. You can find sumac and pomegranate molasses at Middle Eastern or specialty stores (Whole Foods Market and Central Market carry sumac in the US). Turkish online supermarket Tulumba.com also have them and I could find sumac in major supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsburys in the UK.
I hope you enjoy this delicious, substantial salad. We had it with soft boiled eggs and pitta (or flat bread, pide bread) aside, it made a complete meal for us. Olives would also work well in this salad too. You can also serve this salad as an appetizer or with grilled meat, fish and vegetables.
Serves 2 -4
265 gr cooked green lentils, liquid drained and rinsed
2 spring (green onion), finely sliced
50gr baby spinach leaves
½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
A handful (about 100 gr) radishes, coarsely chopped
1 small fennel, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced – optional
For the dressing:
15ml/1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp. ground sumac
½ tbsp. pomegranate molasses or 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar – optional, for a sharper taste-
1 tsp. Turkish red pepper paste – optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
Boil the lentils in three times more water than the pulse for about 35 – 45 minutes. Drain the hot water and set the cooked lentils aside. If you are using pre-cooked lentils in can, drain its juice and rinse well.
Combine the red onions with the Turkish hot red pepper paste, Biber Salcasi, if you are using and extra virgin olive oil and knead well with your hands; this will soften the onions and help the paste blend in well. Stir in the rest of the vegetables and the lentils.
Add the sumac and, pomegranate molasses or the balsamic vinegar (optional; if you enjoy a sharper taste like I do) to the mixture and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
For soft boiled eggs; bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling carefully set the eggs in the water. Cover and turn the heat to low. Set your timer for five minutes (six if you like thicker yolks). Gently remove the eggs from the water when the timer goes off. Immediately run them under cold water and peel carefully. I like to cut them in half and serve with the lentil salad.
Our Memorable Trip to the States
We have been travelling in the US during the last few weeks; it was wonderful to see our old hang outs and dear friends. First stop was Houston; our dear friends Hande & Lenny welcomed us with this delicious Turkish breakfast, infused with wonderful Texas style egg & cheese burritos. With glasses of Turkish cay and in great company of friends, it was special reunion!
We lived in Austin, Texas for about 6 years; a special place for us that we can call a 2nd home. I was delighted to return to the Central Market Cooking School and have a chance to teach my Turkish cookery class at this wonderful school. Folks from my previous classes, friends, dear participants of my Culinary tours to Turkey, new Turkish food lovers all gathered and graciously shared their love of Turkish food and Turkey. It was a day to remember and I was grateful to their company and generosity in appreciation.
While in Texas, one needs to make the most of the barbecue Texas-style, and we had more than our fair share!
Here is another special photo, with my dear friend Peri. Peri is the owner of the fabulously delicious Indian food blog, Peri’s Spice Ladle; our friendship goes a long way, since the days we both lived in Austin. I was so glad to be able to see this dear friend, as Peri & family had literally just arrived from their trip from India. In spite of their jet lag, they very kindly drove to come & see us before we departed, it was special reunion! As Peri said “what matters at the end is the hugs and the memories of a good time, not the travel and fatigue and the jet lag! “, I so agree.
Austin, Texas has a lot of special things worth mentioning; being the capital of Texas, its live music scene (the city hosts brilliant music festivals like South by Southwest), home town of UT and many more. Austin is also the place to find the country’s biggest urban softball bat community; a lot more than 750,000 Mexican Free-Tail bats make their house underneath the beams from the Congress Avenue bridge. We took a Town Lake river cruise in Austin and watched the bats taking off under the Congress Avenue Bridge; “thousands of them!”, as my 9 year old son said with amazement!
We then headed to Park City, Utah. Park City is a scenic mountain community and its crisp clean air, from biking to hiking all things outdoors, the gorgeous mountain scene have been very welcome, relaxing and enjoyable.
We made this delicious Spinach and Cheese fillo pastry, Ispanakli Peynirli Borek with Aunt Jayne while we were in Park City; it was delicious! It’s such an easy, tasty treat and left overs freeze beautifully.
As always, it’s been the people that have made a place special. I hope you have enjoyed the photos, as much as we enjoyed the trip.
My best wishes to you all. Now back at home, I look forward to sharing more new recipes here with you!