I doubt Heidi Swanson really needs any introduction. Her blog 101 Cookbooks is hugely popular, and not just among us plant-based foodies. A few years ago when I discovered blogs hers was one of the first I began to follow and her food style was a great inspiration for my own cooking. If you’re not familiar with her blog, it’s not exclusively vegan, but Heidi’s focus is on natural, whole foods and dairy and eggs are used very sparingly with vegetables as the stars of the show. I’ve made many recipes from the blog in the past and during my time at university a friend and I shared a copy of her book Super Natural Every Day and would cook together from it and talk about “Heidi” as if we knew her personally! It’s funny how you can feel you know someone even when it’s only through cyberspace!
This recipe is an adaptation of a fairly recent “Heidi” recipe. I had been intending to make it for a while and kept being reminded about it seeing variations on other blogs. It originally used chickpeas but if you look at my recipe index you’ll see I’ve already got various chickpea salads and my lentils were feeling a little neglected, so I opted for them instead.
I’ve talked about how, as a student who’s often short on time, I like to make a big hearty salad to eat over a few days, and this one fits the bill perfectly- the cumin dressing soaks into the beans and the flavours simply deepen after a sit in the fridge. It’s also one you can make any time of year as the simple ingredients are available all year round. Beans, carrots, dried fruit, nuts and herbs (you can just use what’s available to you- mint and parsley are particularly good in this though). Finally, it works well as a stand alone dish or served with a green vegetable, salad or a grain.
Moroccan Puy Lentil, Carrot + Mint Salad:
(Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
For the Salad:
1/2C Puy Lentils, dry
150g/5oz Carrots, sliced into thin coins
1/3C Prunes (or dates), roughly chopped
1/4C Fresh mint + parsley, roughly chopped
For the Dressing:
1/2T Cumin Seeds
2T Olive oil
1T Lemon juice
1/2T Agave nectar/Maple syrup
Few dashes cayenne
Lots of black pepper
1/3C Slivered almonds, toasted
Extra fresh herbs, chopped
First cook your lentils. Follow packet instructions as they vary. I cook mine in plenty of boiling water for 25 minutes usually and drain. Leave to cool while you prepare the rest of your ingredients- chop your carrots, dried fruit and herbs.
For dressing, in a dry pan over medium heat toast the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes until they smell fragrant. Grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder (You could of course use pre-ground cumin but the flavour is far superior from whole cumin seeds and is worth it for this salad). In a small jar whisk together the remaining salad ingredients and add the now ground cumin seeds.
Combine the cooled lentils with the dressing, add the carrots, herbs, prunes and fresh herbs. Stir well and serve topped with toasted almonds and more herbs.
Serves 3 (or me for 3 meals!)
Are you a Heidi fan? Any favourite recipes from 101 cookbooks?
Do you feel like you “know” some bloggers despite never having met or interacted except via commenting?