This salad is best served lukewarm or at room temperature rather than cold from the fridge. And please don’t use red lentils to make it, as they collapse when cooked and don’t retain their shape. I learned that the mushy way.
Warm Lentil & Mozzarella Salad with Pesto
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
100g Puy or green lentils (dry weight)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g baby plum tomatoes, halved
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g fine green beans, trimmed
60g mozzarella, sliced
2 tsp fresh green pesto
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the lentils into a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until they are just tender but still retain some bite. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large deep frying pan set over a low heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until softened.
Stir in the tomatoes and cooked lentils and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the lentils start to stick to the pan, add a little water or vegetable stock. Stir in the lemon juice, herbs and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Cook the green beans in a saucepan of boiling water for about 3 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Divide the lentil salad between two serving plates. Top with the mozzarella and green beans, and drizzle with pesto.
Extracted from The Ultimate Body Plan by Gemma Atkinson (Harper Thorsons, approx €20).
Gemma Atkinson will be speaking at the upcoming Thrive Festival on March 30 at The Convention Centre Dublin. For details, visit www.thrivefestival.ie.