I love a hearty salad–beans, grains, lentils, mixed vegetables, whole grain pasta–when it’s a million degrees outside. With a few minutes of effort, I have delicious eats for quick mini-meals or snacks for several days. Even a petite bowl-ful is infinitely more satisfying than a handful of dry crackers or watery “baby” carrots.
This beautiful salad hits every mark: easy, fast, fresh, cheap (frugal me, I buy my goat cheese on sale), loaded with protein and vegetables, and absolutely delicious, it keeps for days and gets more delicious as it sits.
I’ve kept the ingredients minimal. Carrots are always in my refrigerator since (1) they keep so well, (2) are so versatile (smoothies, baked goods, salads, roasted as a side dish), and (3) are so nutritious. This is also the first year that I have not killed the mint in our garden, so in it went too.
This isn’t, however, a random recipe. I’m on a mini mission, of sorts, to celebrate my British heritage, notably all of the incredible fresh, healthy foods (yes, fresh, healthy British food; it exists!) that have been ignored altogether. Paste-y, boiled, deep fried junk is no more reflective of the bounty of British home cooking than fast food pizza is of Italian food.
This simple salad, for example, showcases the everyday bounty of Wales, where farm-to-table cooking has been the norm for centuries: no heavy sauces or complicated techniques, just minimal, ultra fresh produce, herbs, seafood, meats and cheeses to celebrate the seasons.
Lentils may think of French and Middle Eastern cuisine, but they are also an integral part Welsh cooking, used in recipes there as early as the 13th century.
And goat cheese? The varieties are too numerous to count. Together with carrots, mint and an simple dressing, this is healthy Welsh cooking through and through. Enjoy!
- 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
- 1-1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- fine sea salt &freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 3 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain, rinsing under cold water until completely cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled lentils, carrots, olive oil, vinegar and honey. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 4 hours.
- Just before serving, add mint and goat cheese, gently tossing to combine.