Green and Black Spring Beluga Salad
If you’ve been anywhere near a green grocer or market lately you’ll notice asparagus is back! Not the limp shriveled looking stuff you get imported in winter wrapped in plastic and all sad seeming. No, not that but gorgeous, thick juicy, flavourful local asparagus. Yes!
I don’t know about you but I feel like asparagus is one of those things that should be kept seasonal, I know you can buy anything at any time of year nowadays but does that mean we should? hmmmm, no. The quality and flavour of seasonal vegetables is always going to be far superior so why not save ourselves and cherish these wonderments of nature when they come into season.
Fresh asparagus, I like to thinly slice and serve raw in a salad, or keep it whole, maybe lightly grill or cook like I have here. Steam fried for literally a minute, Just to change the colour to bright green while retaining all that crunch and goodness. Cooking like this in a tiny bit of oil and a splash of water will take the slight bitterness off and release it’s sweetness.
In this salad I also added courgette ribbons and lots of fresh herbs, as always, nuts for fun. I had some pesto in the fridge and thought it would go well as a dressing so in that went, and it I was right, it did go well!
I used beluga, black, lentils. These are my favourite salad lentil. They hold their shape really well, taste amazing and look good too!
Don’t be shy when adding your oil and salt to pulses, these two ingredients really bring out the flavour. It’s good to add your dressing while the lentils are still warm, it will be absorbed better. So fat and salt to give flavour, herbs, spices, vegetables, nuts and seeds bring the salad to life.
100g beluga (black) lentils
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 heaped tbsp pesto
1-2 tsp coconut oil
3 spring onion
20g pistachio, roasted, roughly chopped
a few mixed green and black olives, halved
olive oil, salt and pepper to finish
Cook the lentils in a small pan. Cover them with water, bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked but still hold their form and have a little bite.
Drain and transfer to your mixing bowl. Dress with the lemon and a slug of olive and add the pesto.
While the lentils are cooking prep the rest of your veg and make your pesto.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus. Slice into 1 inch pieces and do the same with the spring onion.
Steam fry your asparagus by heating a large fry pan, add a teaspoon coconut oil and a splash of water. Cook for just a minute until the asparagus is just cooked, you want it still crunchy and fresh. Transfer these out of the pan into a colander in case there’s any extra water left. Add a little more coconut oil. Cook the spring onions very lightly, just for a minute, add a pinch of salt to these and the asparagus, add to your lentils and mix through.
Using a peeler peel away layers of your courgette to create courgette ribbons. You could also use a mandolin on a very fine setting for this, or a spiraliser to make courgette would also be nice.
Roughly chop your herbs and pistachio, add these along with the courgettes and olives, mix through. Taste for seasoning. You may want to add a little more pesto, a splash more olive oil and extra salt and pepper.
And the salad is done! It’s a really tasty one so I recommend trying it, especially now it’s spring and we’ve got so much beautiful fresh green vegetables to enjoy! You don’t have to stick with these veg, if you see something else that takes your fancy go for it!
A big handful of fresh basil, a small handful or toasted pine nuts, 1 clove garli, a squeeze of lemon. Put this into a food processor with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, blend until still a little rough but with no large chunks remaining. Transfer to a bowl or container and taste for seasoning. Cover this with olive oil, this will helo preserve the pesto and let you keep it longer.
Use any remaining pesto as a dressing for other salads, stir into pasta or through warm veg.. Endless options! ;)