Lentil salad with chard, mint tahini yogurt dressing
Day three of losing my beer and cheese belly diet! I’ve been cooking with beans a lot lately, a wonderful ingredient to use if you want to feel full quickly and get all your nutrients at the same time. I started by using red lentils for this salad but that turned into one big mushy pile of beans. Lesson learned: leave yellow and red lentils for soups (as it turned out, I ended up making one yummy dal soup which I’ll be posting next!) Luckily, I also had a bag of green lentils in my pantry which worked out very well. The trick is to bring them to a quick boil and let them simmer on very low for about 15 minutes. They’ll be tender but still round and separated.
Now for the eggplant:
I you can find Japanese, Chinese or small Italian eggplants, buy them! You’ll need to use more (because they’re smaller) but they’re easier and better to cook than American eggplants. There can be an abundance of seeds in American eggplants which can easily ruin a dish if the seeds are too hard. A quick way to avoid this problem is to cut out part of the middle, which is what I always do (for this lentil salad too). Better safe than sorry, believe me!
If you have time, soak the eggplant in salted water (as salty as the sea) for a few hours to get rid of its natural bitterness.
The creme de la creme mint tahini yogurt!
Lip smacking good! So good you can eat it on its own with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. So healthy you could put it on your face and use it as a mask but would soon want to scoop it off and eat it. The mint flavor really comes through and marries so well with the lemon and nutty tahini. Zesty and addictive. Yes, you will love it. This is one lentil salad you’ll come back to!
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch swiss chard, chopped bite size (about 8 cups)
- 1 medium size American eggplant, chopped bite size
- 1/2 cup green lentil, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp regular salt)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- red wine vinegar, to drizzle
- extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 20 mint leaves, finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
- Bring water to boil. Add lentils, lower heat to a very low simmer. This helps the lentils stay firmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until lentils are cooked but not falling apart. Drain and put lentils in a mixing bowl. Add salt and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, stir well and set aside.
- Boil the chard for 3 minutes and drain. In a pan over high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and chard. Cook for 5 minutes, until chard is soft and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- In another medium size pan over high heat, add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and eggplant. Cook until eggplant is completely cooked through. Use a fork to test - the eggplant should be mushy.
- Set aside.
- Start with a layer of chard and top with lentils, eggplants, one or two jalapeno slices and a generous dollop of tahini yogurt. Drizzle with a little red wine vinegar and olive oil, and serve immediately.
- The measurements don't have to be exactly right with the swiss chard, eggplant and lentils. Because this salad is layered with many ingredients, you can build it however you'd like. As long you get the measurements for the dressing right, you're golden.