A Tale of Two Lentils

During yet another cupboard clear out, I came across a package of Greek green lentils. These ones, to be precise. Warm lentil salad! I exclaimed. (No, really, I did.) So I chargrilled up a courgette and an aubergine, chopped them into smallish bits, tossed them in with the lentils and added a gorgeous dressing of fresh garlic pounded with cumin, salt, olive oil, sweet smoked Spanish paprika and sherry vinegar. The lentils soaked it up like a British holiday maker on the first day of sunshine. That dressing comes from a lovely site and YouTube channel, Spain on a Fork.

But then I wondered what to do with the rest as, obviously, I had made enough for two. Or three.

After some internet ambling I found a recipe for a cold Ethiopian lentil salad called Azifa. I’m NOT a chile heat fan, but I did have some Turkish Carliston peppers, so I used those for the crunch. I got over the bite of the raw red onions by soaking them in lemon juice for half an hour, which takes away that acrid burn. Yes the lentils already had some flavours, but the additions really worked well.

Half an hour before: soak the diced onions in the lemon juice

1 cup cooked, very soft lentils, smooshed a bit
1/2 or 1 small red onion diced
5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 large Carliston pepper, chopped or a couple of sivri biber or a Jalapeño if you want heat
3 inch piece of cucumber, diced
3 tsp black mustard seeds, roasted in a dry pan until they started to pop, and then ground to a powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Olive oil to your taste

Mix and pound the lentils a bit of some of them break down.
Add in the tomato, cucumber, peppers, soaked onions and their lemon juice and mix well.
Sprinkle in the ground mustard seeds, add in the olive oil, taste it and then add salt if you think it needs it.

This is tangy from the lemon juice, but earthy and nuttily savoury from the ground mustard seeds. A lovely combination of flavours for a hot afternoon’s lunch.

Have bread, the juices are gorgeous. This also lasts very well in the fridge.

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