Lentil & Stone Fruit Salad
The way I plan recipes for the blog is probably a bit unconventional compared to other bloggers. It's mostly based on spontaneity and availability, and in summer, the weather. I don't have a notebook with blog posts scheduled, but rather a notebook filled with random post-it notes about ideas I may have had or flavors I want to try together. Usually, something will pop into my head and I will mull it over a day or two. Then, if I'm still thinking/dreaming about it (yes, dreaming), I will go ahead and set aside a bit of time to make and photograph it. This lentil salad, for example, came about because I was trying to think of a somewhat savory way to incorporate some stone fruit I had lying around in my kitchen that was starting to take up valuable real estate on the kitchen counter. I thought about combining it with some lentils for an easy summer salad, but had some doubts about whether the flavors would jive. I didn't doubt the idea for long because I soon remembered this post on happyolks for a cherry and lentil based salad. This gave me the push I needed to try the salad and since I'm sharing it here with you, I suppose it's obvious it wasn't a flop.
This salad is the epitome of summer eating. Fresh and bright flavors with a bit of protein to get me through the day. Though I'm itching for fall, pumpkins, and chai-spiced things at the moment, the temperature outside makes me crave raw, fresh flavors. The salad came together in under 30 minutes so it won't take up too much of your time. I threw in some chopped toasted almonds for both the added flavor and crunch. And, as per usual, it's both gluten free and vegan so everyone can enjoy it. In case you are a little skeptical about the lentil and stone fruit combination, just trust me and try it. I think you'll find it particularly delicious :)
Lentil & Stone Fruit Salad
notes - In order to make the salad in a reasonable amount of time, you can do all the chopping while the lentils are cooking. Feel free to use whatever stone fruits are available to you as they are all in season right now. To make this a more substantial meal, you can always toss in some quinoa or any other cooked grain for a bit of added protein.
1 cup lentils plus 2 cups water
pinch of salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced stone fruit (I used a mix of peaches and plums)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1 small red onion, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme or thyme leaves, finely chopped
large handful of baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
splash of apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 a small lemon
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
good pinch of salt
Rinse the lentils and combine them with the water and a pinch of salt in a pot over medium high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then lower it to a simmer and cook the lentils (uncovered) for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are cooked through, but still have a bit of bite to them. Drain the lentils, rinse them under cold water, then set them aside to continue draining until you need them.
In a large bowl, toss together the lentils with the cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil (if using), and a good pinch of salt. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Makes 4 to 6 servings.