Lentil Salad with Wild Herbs
This salad, fragrant with wild herbs and bursting with vibrant flavours, is surprisingly moreish for something so healthy. It also happens to be vegan and gluten-free.
You can use this recipe as a kind of template, swapping ingredients as you wish or adding chunks of avocado, cooked chicken or crumbled feta cheese. However, the salad is delicious in its basic form: the toasted sunflower seeds add a lovely flavour and crunch, while the capers, sumac and sorrel bring tartness (add lemon juice to taste if you don’t have any sorrel). Use any wild herbs you can get your hands on, but be sure to include some wild garlic. Cultivated flat-leaf parsley and fresh mint balance the bolder, more peppery flavours of the wild herbs. Be generous – the ratio of greenery should be almost equal to the lentils.
- 225g puy lentils
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 heaped tablespoon elderberry capers or regular capers, drained and rinsed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac
- 1 large handful wild garlic leaves (approx 100g), chopped
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley (about 100g), chopped
- A palmful of fresh mint leaves (about 50g), larger leaves chopped,
- 5–6 leaves of common sorrel (depending on their size and your taste), finely chopped
- A little lemon juice (optional)
- About 4 wild garlic flowers, to decorate (optional)
- Simmer the lentils in boiling water (don’t add salt) for around 35 minutes until tender but still holding their shape. While they cook, toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan until lightly golden. Tip the seeds onto a small plate to cool.
- When the lentils are cooked, drain them well and put in a wide mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, capers, sumac and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss and leave to cool.
- When the lentils are cold, add the chopped herbs and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust – you may want more sumac, seasoning, or some lemon juice.
- Tip out the salad onto a wide serving plate and scatter with the toasted sunflower seeds. Pick the individual flowers from the wild garlic flower heads and strew them over the salad, and serve.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK