This salad is a celebration of fresh, seasonal and organic produce. I joined up to Growing Communities about a year ago to get weekly organic locally grown produce. Each week you collect a bag of goodies, only finding out what’s in them a couple of days before. Although I always thought I was adventurous with vegetables and definitely a vegetable lover, I’ll admit sometimes even I have to think a little, mostly in the winter months. But it’s been great to try different things, vegetables you may not always pick off the shelf. I’ve done a couple of blog posts using my veg bag already in the winter months, when I’ve felt pushed to get creative. I’m definitely a summer person, I get so excited when there’s an aubergine or some fennel. But! I had a lot of fun making things with my winter bags, and most importantly I enjoyed all of them. It helps that this local, organic produce is bursting with flavour even before you do anything snazzy to it.
It’s affordable as well, and you’re supporting local farmers and the local community. The food industry is such a giant one (of course, everyone’s gotta eat!). But the feeling of disconnection from our food and where it comes from has possibly never been greater. So, where possible buying locally and organically, getting to know the people you’re buying from all helps.
Check out Growing Community website and take a look for yourself the great work they’re doing. They also have a farmers market in Stoke Newington on Saturdays.
So to get to the reason I’m on this topic is they recently asked me to do some recipes for their website, and of course I jumped at the chance. It can be too easy to cook the same things with slight variations each day, especially when you’re busy. So I’m happy to have a little challenge each week and the perfect chance to practice my recipe writing, photography and creativity.
I decided to share this recipe, a delicious salad full of seasonal vegetables, all locally grown and made with love.
Black lentil, roast cauliflower, kohlrabi & apple salad
A simple, but interesting and delicious salad which uses a range of fresh local vegetables, there are a lot of ingredients but none are hard to come by, feel free to substitute ingredients you think will go.
An impressive side dish to a dinner spread or serve as a stand alone vegetarian/ vegan meal. If doing this I would double the lentils to make it more substantial.
4 as a side, 2 as a main course
1 small Cauliflower head
2tbsp coconut oil, melted
60g black lentils – 120g for main course
2 bay leaves
½ bunch cavolo nero, washed
½ kohl rabi, peeled
1 small apple
20g mint, roughly chopped
20g parsley, roughly chopped
juice & zest 1 lemon
75ml olive oil
20g coriander (use the stalks as well if you have them)
1 clove garlic
juice ½ lemon
150ml olive oil
Pre heat your oven 200c and cut the cauliflower into florets, slicing the stems as well. Place in a roasting tray and coat with the melted coconut oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.
While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the rest of your ingredients. Boil the lentils with the bay leaves in plenty of water. Cook for 15-20 minutes until tender but still have bite. Drain, dress with a little oil and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking cut or tear the kale into bite size pieces. Choosing your self whether to use the stems. I find very fresh, young cavolo nero the leaves and stem are quite tender.
Massage with a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon. Thinly slice the kohlrabi. If you have a mandolin use this to make nice thin slices, do the same with your apple, dress both with lemon juice. Add to the kale along with the lentils, the cauliflower and rest of your ingredients and taste for seasoning.
To make the green sauce simple blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender. Taste for seasoning.
Some handy tips :
- When making a salad like this I find it helps to either season and dress all the ingredients separately or at the end once everything is mixed. This will ensure they are all balanced and seasoned just right.
- With the kale if it’s a little older or tougher the earlier you massage in the dressing the more tender it will become. This is a good leaf to take for lunch as it doesn’t become soggy like other salad leaves.
- Adding lemon to the apple straight away is important to stop it oxidizing and turning brown.