This is a fabulously simple, delicious and easy main course vegetarian meal that I discovered by accident while on a recent trip to Stoupa, in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Where? In case you are wondering (and are as bad at geography as I am) it makes up the southernmost part of mainland. Yeah, I had to look at an atlas (a.k.a. Google maps) too. Anyhow, as I discovered…lentils, rice noodles and all sorts of beans were plentiful in the supermarkets and so with limited cooking utensils and a very basic kitchen, dinners had to be creative and simple.
I wasn’t able to find any fresh herbs other than parsley, mint and dill but had imagined that this dish would have tasted even better topped with fresh chopped cilantro. But I am one of those people who thinks anything tastes better with fresh cilantro. Come to think of it, anything and everything also tastes better when you in a beautiful location, in a beautiful house, enjoying fresh sea air and sunshine! I always have this feeling when I enjoy a glass of rosé. It is really one of those things that tastes best on holiday and always brings back that holiday feeling…bringing me to back to fond memories of France, Italy, Spain and newly Greece! A half liter only cost 3€ in Greece. Double bonus. Or perhaps not. Somehow I find Greek wine headache-inducing. French wine on the other hand….bring it on!
I’ve made this often enough and find this simple and delicious carrot and apple lentils recipe is refreshing in summer and definitely something that can be enjoyed throughout the winter season.
Either green lentils or French puy lentils can be used in this recipe.
CARROT AND APPLE LENTILS
1 1/2 cups green lentils (or French puy lentils) (300 g)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple (or other tart apple, such as Braeburn or Elstar), cored and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, garnish (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. In a small saucepan combine lentils with enough water to cover the lentils by 5cm. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the lentils are tender, but still have some bite (al dente), about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. Transfer the lentils to a serving bowl and toss them in the olive oil and red wine vinegar.
3. Add the red onions, garlic, carrot, apple and cilantro. Mix until combined well, season and serve.