Category Archives: lentils

Socca, Lentils, and Lemon Radish Salad

socca, lentils, and mint lemon radish salad

Ah, the challenges of assembling a meal. Particularly vegetarian meals, because often there’s no focal point, but instead an amalgamation of various sides seeking harmony. Today I offer you a combination: three elements that are quite tasty alone, but perhaps not spectacular, yet together create a marvelous dinner.

Socca (also known as farinata, is a vegetarian staple I’ve been meaning to make for a while, and I would’ve done it much sooner had I realized quite how easy it is. Chickpea flour, water, a little oil, some time, and heat—very little labor. And so, so delicious.

Would your grandmother call this food? Either way, it’s definitely worth eating.

Other side note shareables: tips for container garden growing! Also, farmers are starting to use microbes (yep, the same organisms that are receiving accolades in the yogurt-kombucha-aged cheese-loving world) instead of pesticides! Keep working while we attempt to figure you out, nature.

socca batter

The Creation of this meal Story: I had been thinking about socca, and then I got some beautiful purple and red radishes in my CSA this week, along with some mint, and figured radish salad would be a lovely fresh addition. I could be happy with that combination for myself, but I like to fill out the plate a little more when there are other people around (and also, leftovers). The little gray cells landed on lentils: easy, a flavorful accompaniment, but generally not terribly exciting as a main course. Here, they perform their role more than admirably, providing heft and spice and heartening out the other two dishes. As for the salad, the lemon on the radishes cuts their sharpness enough to enjoy a plateful, and the mint wonderfully brightens the warmth of the lentils when ensemble. All scooped up with aromatic socca, I was quite pleased, and I think you will be too.

rosemary for socca

Socca recipe from Mark Bittman, the rest I just threw together.

Socca, lentils, and lemon-mint radish salad
Socca:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup lukewarm water
Salt and pepper
Rosemary
1/2 onion, if desired

Red lentils, with plenty of spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger
Onions, chopped
Oil

2 bunches radishes
A few sprigs of mint
1 lemon
Salt and pepper

If you have time to mix the batter for the socca ahead of time, do so. Put chickpea flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl, then add water slowly, whisking to avoid lumps. When smooth, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and whisk again.

While that is sitting, cook the lentils: heat up dry spices until aromatic, then add oil and onions and cook until onions are soft. add lentils and stir until the lentils take on some color, but don’t let them burn—have water on hand. Add water, bring to a boil, then simmer until soft, around 20 minutes (red lentils disintegrate fairly quickly).

When ready to cook the socca, put a large cast iron pan in the oven and preheat to 450ºF. When hot, remove pan and add a little oil and some rosemary (you could also cook a few onions at this point, returning the pan to the oven until onions are brown, then adding them to the batter). Pour batter into hot pan (don’t forget oven mitts at any point in this process!) and cook for 10 or so minutes, until golden brown and set (actual length depends on how wide your pan is, which determines the thickness of the pancake; I admittedly burned mine a tad).

While the socca is cooking, wash and cut the radishes into quarters, or bite-size chunks depending on their size. Chop up mint and place both in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon (including pulp) over the radishes, add a little salt and pepper, toss, and taste. Adjust as needed.

Serve, and don’t worry if lemon juice from the radishes (it may even turn pink!) seeps into the lentils. Do try to avoid making the socca soggy though.

Advertisements

Grilled Veggies, Chorizo, and Fiddlehead Lentil Salad

fiddlehead chorizo lentil salad

Grilling, chorizo, and fiddleheads! Doesn’t get too much better than that (unless you add lentils).

Continually looking for more ways to incorporate non-meat proteins into the diets of meat-eaters, I’ve decided that chorizo (much like bacon) is a magic trick. Less meat, after all, does not mean no meat, and a flavored bit of spicy sausage provides an excellent source of protein as well as flavor. Chorizo in particular is a fabulous smoky spicy blend beloved by, well, most (hedging my bets here. There are always those odd ones who don’t like certain foods. So glad I’ve gotten over being a picky eater).

So, why not mix the wonderfully enriching chorizo with our new favorite legume, the lentil? Why not, indeed. Add in a few grilled vegetables of your choice, and maybe a few sautéed ones too, a bit of dressing if you like, and you’ve got yourself a meal (I also recommend some grilled toast on the side). If you don’t have a grill, the additions to this salad can be prepared in the oven or on the stove as well, with only a slight difference in flavor (mostly it’s just fun to grill things). You can add anything to a salad—even random bits of old produce you might ordinarily throw away (reduce food waste!).

Just as easy as a dinner kit, simpler, and evidently easier to source local ingredients.

Fiddleheads are the thing at the moment (well, perhaps their moment is passing by now, it is quite fleeting. Apologies again for the delay). For those of you not from New England (the only place I’ve seen them, anyway), they’re these funny little fern fronds that perhaps taste like a mix between asparagus and a green bean. Most recipes I’ve seen for them recommend lots of butter to counteract their slight astringency (an endorsed suggestion, certainly not limited to fiddleheads).

My new favorite dressing is a variation of Annie’s Woodstock dressing. It’s lovely on green salads, especially with avocado, and good for marinades, grain or legume salads, or as a dipping sauce too. Really what I’m trying to recreate is this fabulous dressing from my hometown, Planet Good Food Store dressing, which is similar to Annie’s except better (at least how I remember it). I haven’t quite got it down yet but I’m working on it—hopefully by the end of the summer. Tangy, flavorful, thick, creamy, but totally vegan (if that matters to you) and so so good. Besides, it’s a beautiful bright orange color.

As usual, I recommend cooking a large pot of lentils at the beginning of the week, and then using them in recipes like this throughout the week. A delicious quick lentil meal (which may warrant its own short post at some point, but I was too hungry to take a picture so I want to tell you about it regardless) for a weeknight when you are rushing home is a lentil taco or tostado—sauté some greens, with onions if you like, or chop up some cabbage or wash some lettuce, and warm up lentils with a good dump of chipotle and a little cumin. Add a little sour cream if you want (although this is not really necessary), and place on top of a tortilla, chips, or toast. Add slices of ripe avocado and a little salsa, if you like (cheese too if you’re feeling it), and you are ready to scarf it down.

Now, on to another no-recipe recipe:

Grilled veggies, chorizo, and fiddlehead lentil salad
Lentils (1 1/2-2 cups cooked)
Chorizo (1/2 lb?)
Veggies! Onions (2), sweet potatoes (1-2 large, or more if smaller), whatever you feel like
Olive oil
Salt
Fiddleheads, spinach, or other greenery
Butter (or more oil)
Dressing of choice 

Tomato-tahini dressing
4-5 Sundried tomatoes, revived in boiled water, and the water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons tahini
3-4 cloves garlic

A note on construction: You can add whatever you like to this salad, but here are my suggestions: I like having a little sweetness (sweet potatoes) to balance the smoky chorizo, definitely like having greenery to change the texture, add color and freshness, and onions make everything meld together. That being said, other combos or additions would be lovely too. More suggestions on salad combinations (in a composed salad) from the NYTimes.

Cook lentils if you have not done so already.

Heat up the grill. Bring the chorizo to room temperature. Chop up veggies for the grill (or however else you are preparing them)—I like slicing fat wide onion rings, and had small sweet potatoes so I just cut them in half. Toss veggies with a little oil and salt. Place on grill, with the chorizo, and cover top.

While the veggies and chorizo are cooking, clean and trim the fiddleheads. Sauté in butter (or oil) until tender but still crisp.

Make dressing: add all ingredients to a blender. Taste, adjust, and blend until emulsified.

Assemble: When chorizo is cooked, onions brown, and sweet potatoes soft, remove from the grill and chop up into small chunks. Place everything in a large bowl (only add dressing as needed, you won’t use the whole batch for this—good thing, because you’ll want it for everything else this week) and toss. Serve (can also be served cold if you’d like to make it ahead, although better room temperature or slightly warm).

Good for a crowd, and good leftovers too—make a large batch.