Yes. I am sharing two salads with you in a row.
You see, there is something I have to tell you ... salads are my thing. My speciality. My jam.
I know, It is not exactly the most exciting thing in the world.
Some people are really good at making awesome, fancy things like creme brulee or pot pie. I am really good at making salads.
I always wanted to be really good at making one thing. You know, so Bobby Flay would come knocking on my door to do a throwdown. Being the veggie lover that I am, I guess it was natural that salads became my thing. I'm ready for my salad throwdown Bobby. Bring it.
You might be thinking, what's so special about making salads? Isn't making salads really easy. Well, yes, it is. But anyone who is really good at making one thing puts a lot of love into making that one thing.
I put a lot of love into my salads.
I love to make my own dressing, I love to incorporate a good balance of ingredients, I love to use only what's fresh and seasonal, and I love to add unexpected things.
It's all about the love and the ingredients.
As always, whenever I post a salad recipe, I like to think of it more as a guideline or an inspiration for your own salad creations. If you've never used sautéed fennel in a salad, maybe you will try it sometime. If you've only had ginger dressing at a japanese restaurant, maybe now you'll be tempted to make your own at home.
Or maybe you will try this just as I made it. I sure hope you do.
beluga lentils with crispy brussel leaves, carrots + fennel with a ginger dressing
enough for 2-4 people
1 cup of beluga (black) lentils, rinsed well
about 2 cups of brussel sprouts, bottoms removed and leaves separated
about 1 cup of carrots, diced
about 1 cup of fennel, thinly sliced
a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil
salt + pepper
the juice of 1/2 of a small lemon
(optional) two handfuls of arugula leaves, or another green of your choice
for the dressing:
Start by making the dressing:
- Place all of the ingredients (except for the water) in a blender. Blend until smooth, then add in the water a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you desire. Taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly.
- Set aside until you are ready to use. You can also make the dressing ahead of time and it will keep in an airtight contain in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Then, cook the lentils:
- Place the lentils in a pot with about 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid not completely on. Cook the lentils for about 20 minutes, being careful not to over cook them. You want the lentils to be crisp. When they are done, strain the lentils and run cold water over them. Set them aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
Sautée the fennel, carrots, and brussel leaves:
- Place a drizzle of oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and the fennel and sautée for about 10 minutes until the fennel starts to brown and the carrots are soft. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan over medium heat add another small drizzle of oil and add the brussel leaves. Sautée for a few minutes until the leaves start to become brown and crisp. Then turn the heat off, finish with some salt and pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice.
Assemble the salad:
- Place the arugula or greens on the bottom of the plate. Then add the lentils and the brussel leaves, and gently toss everything to combine. Top with the carrots and the fennel and drizzle the ginger dressing over the top. Serve immediately.