Roasted red onion, black lentil + dried blueberry salad
Have you ever had one of those nights where you feel like you didn’t sleep a wink, even though you must have? I’ve just woken from one where my dreams were so vivid, conversations so clear, it felt like I was awake the whole night. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have no recollection of my husband getting up and going to work in the wee hours, I would’ve been convinced of no sleep. I had so many things going through my busy mind, numerous ‘gotta remember that in the morning’ moments (of course, now that it’s morning I have forgotten them all!). I’m sure had I just got out of bed and spent 10 minutes writing down all the things on my mind, including those important notes-to-remember, I would’ve been able to have a more restful sleep.
Life is as full as ever, great don’t get me wrong, just full. We’re into the last week of the school holidays, last weekend we had a few nights away in Ahuriri-Napier for the NZ Waka ama (outrigger canoe) long distance nationals where Si’s (my husband) team came 2nd in the open mens division! This week I’ve sent in my latest column for Nourish Magazine while also working on my next one for Cuisine Magazine (FYI: you can now find most of my recipes created for Cuisine on their recently reinstalled website here). I’m going to start on the photos for my column today and it’s shaping up to be a good one, so make sure you keep your eyes out for the issue over summer. And actually while I’m on the subject, the next issue of Cuisine (out in a matter of weeks I believe) features a little vegetarian dinner party I created filled with some insanely delicious recipes (and a few photos of your truly taken by my friend Lottie Hedley!).
I’m scrambling to get everything finished so I can breathe easy on my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka. Some of you might remember my trip there a few years ago? It turns out I’m a finalist in the Cinnamon TBC Asia Conference and Travel Awards again (in the food blog section), much to my surprise! I can’t wait to share more about it during my trip over on Instagram and then back here once I return home.
Yesterday I shared a photo of these roasted red onions on my IG page and it turns out there’s a lot of fans out there! The nature of red onions means once cooked the natural sweetness is even more pronounced. Slightly charred on the tips with a sweet and sour hit from red wine vinegar and honey, these onions are the star of this simple lentil salad. I added a handful of dried blueberries to the onions before roasting, which plump up and get sticky once roasted too.
You can find dried blueberries at selected supermarkets and health food stores. Dried currants or raisins would work in their place though if you can’t find them, or can’t justify their high price! To make this vegan, use brown rice malt syrup or pure maple syrup in place of the honey. Walnuts can be used in place of pecans if desired. I like using beluga lentils or puy-style lentils as they hold their shape when cooked, but feel free to use what you have at hand.
8 medium red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup dried blueberries
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 tablespoon honey, optional
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked black (beluga) lentils, drained well* see note
3-4 handfuls of rocket (arugula) or mixed salad greens
1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped* see note
Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Scatter dried blueberries and bay leaves over the base of a large oven-proof dish, arrange red onion wedges on top, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, honey (if using), then season with salt and pepper. Roast 30-40 minutes or until onions are tender and the edges are starting to colour. Remove from the oven and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
To serve, arrange rocket or salad greens on a large platter or salad bowl, top with roasted red onions (reserve their cooking juices), lentils and toasted pecans. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon extra red wine vinegar into the reserved cooking juices and drizzle this dressing over the salad.
* To cook lentils, you can soak them overnight in cold water to improve digestion and speed up the cooking time or just cook straight from dried. You’ll need approx. 1/4-1/3 cup dried black (beluga) lentils to give 1 cup once cooked. Cover dried or soaked (and drained) lentils with plenty of water and simmer for 12-20 minutes (the lesser time for soaked and the later for dried) or until just tender but not falling apart. Once tender, add a little salt to the water, cook for 30 seconds further, then drain and set aside to cool.
* To toast pecans, spread onto a tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C (350F) for 6-8 minutes or until lightly toasted.
See original article here