A couple of months ago I added red lentils to our shopping list for a soup that I was making. Philip took that list, went to the shops and returned with green lentils (or French lentils as I now know they are also called), after checking with trusty Chef Google and finding out that green lentils really weren’t appropriate for my tomato soup, I put the box on the kitchen shelf and vowed to look up some green lentil recipes.
Then last week (yes, I know it took me ages), I stumbled across a salad that sounded divine. I’ve made quite a few changes (I really can’t help myself) and so the Lentil and Couscous Salad was born.
I know it probably doesn’t sound very appealing, but trust me it is delicious. It is also really rather easy to put together, like most salads there are a few ingredients, but only the couscous and lentils need cooking – everything else is just chopped and chucked in a bowl. Plus you can make your own salad dressing in approximately 45 seconds, which works perfectly.
Now, this will work if the lentils and couscous are warm, but it is at its best if they are cold. If you want the entire dish to be cold, make sure you cook them at least two hours before preparing the rest of the salad.
- 1 cup couscous
- ½ cup dry French green lentils
- 2½ cups water
- 1 red onion
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- ½ Tbsp parsley
- ½ Tbsp coriander
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 1 tsp Garlic Salt (or ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp garlic granules)
- Lentils: Put the lentils in a saucepan with 1½ cups of water - don't let your lentils boil dry, if you need to add more water, just add more hot water. Bring the lentils to the boil, then let them simmer for 20 minutes. Once they are ready, drain your lentils, sprinkle in 1 tsp of garlic salt. Do not add salt to the lentils while they are cooking as it will toughen them and make them very unpleasant to eat. Give the lentils a good stir then cover and put to one side to cool.
- Couscous: This is the way I make couscous - if you want to follow the instructions on your packet, then that is fine too! Put the cup of couscous into a bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water. Give it a soft stir to ensure that the couscous is covered in water. Cover the bowl (a tea towel works fine) and leave it to absorb. After 10 minutes all the water should have been absorbed. Using a fork, gently stir the couscous to break up any clumps that have formed. Then cover and leave to one side to cool.
- The Dressing: Mince or very finely slice the shallot (it isn't worth losing a finger over, so if there are some bigger chunks in the pile, just go with it) place it in a bowl with the lemon juice and olive oil. Mix it all together and you're done. When I first made this I actually added much less lemon juice than the recipe stated, as I thought it would be too much. I was wrong. The lemon juice goes perfectly with the couscous and lentils and really makes the salad fresh and tasty.
- The Salad: Dice the red onion and tomato. Then finely chop the parsley and coriander. Into a large bowl add the salad ingredients, couscous and lentils. Pour in the salad dressing and give everything a good mix. Crumble the feta on top and then tuck in!
This goes perfectly with a glass of chilled Prosecco! If you are going to have leftovers for lunch the next day (like I did), this works really well in pitta bread.