Most people, including me, would probably name asparagus when asked to think of their favourite spring vegetable. But, while Spring has officially started (I think…), it will most likely be a few weeks until British asparagus appears.
I’m definitely looking forward to then but in the meantime was very happy to spot another of my seasonal favourites at the farmers’ market a couple of Sundays ago – purple sprouting broccoli! It was a rainy day and I had a hood up but the bright violet florets caught my attention and a bagful made its way home with me and into lunch!
If you haven’t had PSB before, it’s a little sweeter than regular Calabrese broccoli and you can eat the whole lot, leaves and all. Just trim off any tougher ones and woody stems.
Lentils are always reliable and cook nice and quickly so this meal came together in a flash. I mixed the lentils with a simple, lemony vinaigrette and plenty of herbs to keep things fresh and then topped them with steamed broccoli and salty crumbled almond feta.
For the feta, I used my Baked Cashew Cheese recipe but substituted blanched almonds for the cashews – both work nicely.
This is one of those great salads which holds up really well for a couple of days in the fridge and is perfect for lunchboxes too.
If you haven’t made any nut cheese in advance, another tasty option is to sprinkle some capers over the salad instead. They’ve got a salty kick to them so have a similar effect to the nut cheese.
- 3/4 C Puy lentils
- 1 Bay leaf
- Approx 150g Purple sprouting broccoli OR Asparagus, woody ends removed
- 1/3 C finely chopped red onion
- ½ C roughly chopped herbs (mint+ parsley)
- Almond Feta, crumbled
- 1 ½ Tbsp lemon
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Rinse the lentils and place in a medium pan with the bay leaf and plenty of water. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain and leave to cool.
- Steam the purple sprouting broccoli or asparagus for a couple of minutes. It should be bright green and still quite firm. Rinse in cold water to stop further cooking.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the lentils, red onion and herbs.
- Top the lentil salad with the steamed broccoli and almond feta.
P.S. You can definitely swap out the PSB for asparagus when it arrives!
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