Sunday, 7 August 2011

Unexpected pleasures – beluga lentil salad

Beluga lentil salad

I am ashamed to admit it but I am probably a creature of habit. I guess I am just less spontaneous than I once was. Get up, work, walk, diner, shower, sleep. Last week my usual program of events was altered by a train derailment and my evening was all the better for it.

It has got me thinking about how I would like to be more open to the possibilities that are out there every day. Maybe there is so much more I could do? Am I really making the most of my time on this “pale blue dot”? All very scary and metaphysical questions but for me the scariest thought in the world is lying on my death bed wishing I had spent more time being creative, being with friends, seeing the world… instead of watching sh*t TV. Maybe I’m worrying prematurely, I am only 24 after all. Fingers crossed I’ve got a few years left in me yet.

Due to the derailment I had to get off the train a stop early and instead of catching a bus or walking the shortest route back I made the most of the late summer sun by walking along the riverbank. Here are a few photos I took with my phone. I don’t think they really capture the peace and sense of age of the landscape. It has this lovely, forgotten and ancient atmosphere, all very romantic.

Tired feet

I would describe both my walk along the riverbank and this beluga lentil salad as an unexpected pleasure. I’ve always had a rather nonchalant attitude towards lentils, a bit too rough and earthy maybe, but these beluga ones are richer and creamier but still more delicate than their dhal making counterparts. The creaminess is cut through with the vinaigrette and spring onions and the earthy hint is lifted by the freshness of the parsley. Good ol’ Nigel Slater, that boy never puts a foot wrong in my opinion.

Beluga lentil salad served with grilled courgettes and iberico ham - just as Mr Slater suggested

Beluga lentil salad – adapted from Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume 1 (highly recommended)
Serves 4 as part of a lunch

For the lentils
200 g of beluga lentils
600 ml chicken or vegetable stock – ideally homemade as commercial stocks will have more salt which can toughen the skin on the lentils

For the dressing
4-5 spring onions – finely chopped
a clove of garlic – crushed
a large handful of flat leaf parsley – roughly chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Have a quick look and rummage through the lentils, sometimes there can be debris in the packet.
Pop the lentils into a sieve and run under cold water for a minute or two until the water is clear.
Add the lentils to a pan of simmering chicken stock.

In the meantime make the vinaigrette by adding the dressing ingredients together and mixing.

Taste the lentils after 10 minutes but they may require up to 15-20 minutes cooking.
The lentils should be tender but still with a little bite when they are ready.
Drain using a sieve and run under cold water for a minute or two.

Put the lentils in a bowl and pour in the dressing and give it a gentle mix until all the lentil are coated.

Season to taste.



  1. looks delicious! and LOVE the photos you took, what a beautiful place for the train to get derailed! love your comments as always:)

  2. Great photos! This looks awesome! I'm not really a fan of lentils, but this recipe makes me think twice....thanks for sharing.


  3. Love discovering nice things in places where you least expect. Great post and photos.

  4. This lentil salad looks delicious. I usually make one with a simple mustard vinaigrette. Served slightly warm a lentil salad is a pure delight.