Friday, June 02, 2017

Mediterranean Summer Salad

Mediterranean Summer Salad pinnable image

I am SO excited about this Summer Mediterranean Salad recipe! It's fresh and so full of summery flavours, I could eat it all day and not get bored. The inspiration for this salad came from a recent visit to a brasserie (The March Hare, Guildford) with my parents. It was a really hot day, and their 'Summer Salad' was the only thing that appealed as a starter in that sort of heat. When it came, I couldn't believe what I was eating because it was so delicious. How excited can you really get about a salad? Pretty excited as it turns out! I left determined to create my own twist on the idea.

After a week of tossing ideas around in my head, I came up with the Mediterranean Salad recipe I wanted to use. It uses the base idea from The March Hare salad of starting with bulgar wheat and lentils and topping the salad off with roasted red peppers, but I have added several other salad ingredients and made my own dressing to twist the flavours towards the more acidic side, rather than sweet. It's choc-full of Mediterranean ingredients.

I'm going to put it out there from the start- this is not a recipe that you can sling together on a Monday morning for your take-to-work lunch. It's perfect as a starter before dinner, or as a side at a BBQ, or when made in bulk on a Sunday ready for work lunches, but it does require around 45 mins of your time to get it all together.

The processes you'll need a little time for are: roasting the pepper, cooking the lentils and the bulgar wheat and making the dressing. Don't be put off though. If you're short of time, there are some short cuts you can use, such as buying pre-roasted peppers in a jar and using shop-bought dressing. If you do want to roast your own pepper, there's an excellent guide here: Don't Feed After Midnight

The result of your hard work will be a very tasty, filling salad, packed full of nutrients. Not one of those salads that leaves you feeling hungry half an hour later! Fibre, iron and protein from the lentils, protein and magnesium from the bulgur wheat and Vitamin C, B9 and potassium from the beetroot to name just a few of benefits. If you wanted to make the salad regularly and keep it interesting, you could change it up with a touch of goats cheese, some olives or some chargrilled chicken. The possibilities are endless!

While the sun's shining and the weather's warrm, this is the salad that you need. Try it- you won't be disappointed!

If you're following Slimming World, this is a syn-free salad if you switch the dressing for a syn-free branded one. With my dressing, it would be 6 syns. You could keep it down to 2 if you reduce the olive oil right down to 1 tsp.


Mediterranean Summer Salad pinnable image


Mediterranean Summer Salad


Ingredients
(serves 2 lunch sized portions or 4 starters)

50g lentils
60g bulgar wheat
70g baby leaf salad
1 cooked beetroot
1/2 a red onion
6 cherry tomatoes
1/4 of a cucumber
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 red pepper

For the dressing:

1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 lemon
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Put the red pepper on a baking tray and pop into a pre-heated oven (210 degrees C, 200 fan, gas mark 6) for 45 minutes. Carefully turn the pepper every 15 minutes to ensure it's blackening on all sides. The skin should be puffing up away from the flesh, darkening and wrinkling as the pepper roasts.
2. Rinse the lentils and put them in a small saucepan. Cover them with 300ml of water and turn the heat up to high. Let them boil for 7-8 minutes, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for another 15-18 minutes. They should be softened but still have bite, similar to pasta, if they are starting to look soggy, take them off the heat.
3.While the lentils are cooking, put the bulgar wheat in another small saucepan and pour cold water on until it's 2 cm above the wheat. Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer for 7-8 minutes. Similar to the lentils, it should be softened but still have bite.
4.  Chop the red onion fairly finely into small chunks.
5. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
6.  Chop the cucumber into small chunks.
7. Slice the beetroot into half cm slices.
8. When the bulgar wheat is ready, drain any remaining water, returning the wheat to the pan.
9. Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the bulgar wheat, stirring through.
10. Remove the red pepper from the oven and leave to cool a little. When cooled, peel the wrinkled skin from the outside and gently pull the green stem away. Scrape the seeds from the inside and cut the pepper into long slices.
11. To start the dressing, juice the lemon.
12. In a small glass, mix the lemon  juice with the olive oil. Add the salt, garlic and oregano and mix well.
13. Mix the red onion, cucumber and pine nuts through the bulgar wheat and lentils. Pour the dressing over and mix through.
14. Lay the baby leaves into a bowl, spoon the bulgar wheat mixture into the centre and arrange the cherry tomatoes and beetroot slices around the outside.
15. Top it off with a couple of slices of the roasted pepper.
16. Serve and enjoy!

If you are making a big batch for work lunches, it will keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container.

salad veg chopped up

Roasted red pepper

Mediterranean Summer Salad in a bowl







2 comments:

  1. We love these sorts of salads and grains certainly add something special and make a more substantial meal. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    ReplyDelete

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