Lentils are my favorite of the legume family. They are wonderfully high in protein, easy to prepare and absorb flavor incredibly well. I often use red or yellow lentils when making mashes to serve with fish, and I like using the green or puy varieties in soups and like this dish salads.
When I go to the store, I usually go in without a plan, looking around for what looks fresh and create a menu from whatever inspires me. This hearty, vegetarian recipe came about just this way and while the ingredients can be swapped for whatever you prefer, there is something about this combination that I love and this is why I make it using the same ingredients every time.
2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked through
1 cup garbanzo beans, canned or dried
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato paste
Small head of purple cabbage, halved then sliced
1 bunch asparagus
Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a roasting tray; lightly drizzle the asparagus and cabbage with light oil such as grapeseed (just enough to coat), squeeze the juice of a lemon, season with salt and pepper then roast for 30 minutes or until crisp tender.
To prepare the lentils, put them in a deep sauce pan, cover with vegetable stock, add the bay leaf, cumin and garlic. Then bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered until tender. For al dente lentils, this should take about 20 minutes [this is how I prefer them] or 25 to 30 minutes for softer lentils. Once cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the asparagus into fourths and toss into a bowl with the cabbage, garbanzo beans and lentils. To make the vinaigrette; zest and juice the remaining lemon, season with salt and pepper, thenslowly add about two tablespoons of grapeseed oil while whisking. [You can also use extra virgin olive oil but, I like the lemon to shine and find that using a neutral flavored oil works better.]
This recipe will easily serve six hefty portions or eight side portions, and is best served at room temperature.