This lentil salad is fantastic for winter, as it still has a fresh crisp taste, but is filling and comforting for winter lunches.
This salad can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge, so it acts as a handy base for lunches throughout the week. You can add rocket or mesculin through it, or add tuna or chicken for extra protein! If you are vegan, you can omit the parmesan.
6 to 8 servings
2 to 2 1/4 cups dry Umbrian or green French lentils
4 cups water
1 large yellow onion
3 capsicums (ideally a mix of orange, yellow, and red)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
25 grams Parmesan cheese, divided (omit for a vegan salad)
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (make sure it is pure pomegranate molasses with no added sugar)
2 teaspoons flaky or kosher salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan. Add 4 cups of water. Salt lightly. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and cover the pot, and cook the lentils for about 25 to 30 minutes. Test them after 20 minutes; cooking time will vary according to freshness and age of the lentils. You should turn off the heat when the lentils are toothsome and tender, but not yet mushy or falling apart. When the lentils are done cooking, spread them out on a baking sheet to cool.
Dice the onion, and clean out the bell peppers and dice them as well. Finely mince the garlic. Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is just beginning to be translucent, but the peppers have not yet lost their snap or color.
Turn off the heat and mix the onion mixture with the lentils in a large bowl. Add toasted walnuts, chopped parsley and mint, and the lemon zest. Grate about 1 ounce of the Parmesan cheese and stir this in as well.
In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, and the pomegranate molasses. Toss this dressing with the lentils. Taste for seasoning, and stir in salt and pepper.
Spread the lentils on a serving plate or in a bowl, and use a vegetable peeler to shave the remaining Parmesan into flakes. Sprinkle these over top and serve.