I love the colour of pomegranates, I want a pomegranate wall in our office. Either pomegranate or tomato I can’t decide. These pomegranates were given to me by my friend Margarita, the one with the olive trees, she has pomegranates too…
This lentil salad is part of a mezze I made on Friday. The inspiration came from a blog I follow called Kalyn’s Kitchen which I found through a site called Vegolicious. As the name suggests, Vegolicious is a site where people share their vegetarian photos & recipes. I use it a lot for inspiration and I have also posted some of my recipes there.
The recipe was for Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint & Parsley which was exactly the base I was looking for. All I had to do was add the sweet pomegranate jewels, some red onion and the sharp & creamy white feta to create the dish that was in my head. The perfect backdrop from which the beautiful pomegranates could sparkle..
Lebanese Lentil & Herb Salad with Pomegranate & Feta
Serves 4 – 6 as part of a mezze. Vegetarian
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils (about 175 gr)
- 3 cups water (about 6oo ml)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 7 or 8 cloves garlic very finely minced
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- a big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- a big handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- salt & black pepper
- 1 pomegranate
- about 100 gr Greek feta
Rinse the lentils under the tap then put them in a small pan with the water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until lentils are cooked (about 25 – 30 mins). They should be tender inside but still holding their shape.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves & chop the onion very finely. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion & garlic and cook over a very low heat until well softened but not coloured, about 10 – 12 minutes. Then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, finely chop the mint & parsley. Whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin, cinnamon & nutmeg. Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally (not through the crown), hold it in your palm, seeds facing down, into a large bowl and tap it quite forcefully, on the back, with a wooden spoon. The seeds should fall out into the bowl. Keep tapping until you have all the seeds and pick any white bits out of the bowl.
When lentils are tender, drain well, rinse under cold water then return to the pan.(Not on the heat). Turn the heat back on the garlic & onion pan, add the lemon dressing mixture and heat for about a minute. Pour this over the lentils and gently stir to make sure the lentils are well coated in the dressing.
Stir in the fresh herbs and season well with salt & black pepper. You can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. When you are ready to serve the salad sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds, crumble over the feta and finish it off with a few more chopped herbs.
This salad can be kept in the fridge, just bring it up to room temperature and add the feta & pomegranate as you serve it. The combination of the salty, sharp feta & the sweet, crunchy pomegranate with the garlicky lentils and fresh herbs is just spectacular. You have to try it..
Tomorrow I’ll be posting another delicious mezze dish Butternut Hummus! All the addictiveness of Hummus with the extra colour & sweetness of butternut squash, yum…..