Lentil Tomato Salad

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When I was very young, my mother transformed herself into a new age bohemian – very different to the Eastern European kind.  Our diet was probably one of the last things to fall under the spell of enlightenment, but when it did, we found ourselves eating all kinds of ingredients long before anyone else thought they were edible.  Our household said goodbye to so many delicious necessities: fresh milk, butter, chocolate, red meat, sugar… the list goes on. In their place we had Raw dried lentilspowdered skim milk, cold pressed sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and pepitas, soy beans, chickpeas, honey… the new list goes on too.  And of course no alternative kitchen is complete without large bags of lentils in its pantry! For a long time I really hated lentils, especially the green ones.  Every night for years one member of our household, I will call him Swami, boiled lentils. Plain boiled green lentils; no herbs, no spices, no salt, no anything at all to make them remotely appealing.  And every night this tasteless sploge of lentils would be dumped onto the top of Swami’s equally uninteresting salad and chomped down while standing at the kitchen counter.  It was hard to bear, even when you didn’t have to share.

So after moving out of home I abandonned the mighty healthy but more mightily unappetising lentil.  It was many years before I could contemplate them again, and I am not quite sure how it happened, but lentils have found their way back to my table.  The thing is,  you have to treat them right to make them taste good.   A couple of key points about lentils: 1. don’t over cook them, they are not good as mash, and 2. they need herbs and or spice, desperately. My current favourite lentil recipe is this salad. It is surprisingly light.

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c dried green lentils, boiled til just soft (strain immediately)
  • 3/4 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch continental parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T macadamia or avocado oil
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.

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About baking bohemian

My name is Jen and I am the baking bohemian. My blog identity comes from the cultural background of my mother’s family, (Bohemian), and my mother’s more left wing lifestyle (bohemian). The big ‘B’ Bohemian refers to the rich cultural heritage of our family that emigrated from Bohemia when it was still its own country (it now comprises two thirds of the Czech Republic). Food featured prominently in the family and broader social life of that part of my family. No social interaction was without sustenance, and any celebration, large or small, was an invitation to cook up a storm. My own family emigrated from the United States to Australia when I was a child. For the most part we lived with our mother, and my dad eventually moved back to the US. The little ‘b’ bohemian relates to the semi-alternative lifestyle we led with our mother. I hesitate to refer to her as a hippy, for that conjures up so many misconceptions, but certainly she was on that side of the fence. She was probably more eccentric than radical at the end of the day, but she could really cook. We always set extra plates at the dinner table because inevitably people would visit at dinner time. I started cooking when I was about eight. Cookies. Obviously I was motivated by desire! I loved cooking, I loved that the kitchen was always, in every way, the heart of the house, so I was always part of anything else that was happening while I was cooking. I loved people loving my food. With all the different things that I have done in my life and am interested in, food has remained my most consistent and enduring passion.

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