I have said so many times that food allows you to cross cultures and experience the world in just one bite. Traveling and seeing the world first hand is an obvious passion of mine–but, jetting off to the far corners of the earth is not a luxury that everyone has, though I wish that I could do it every day! Gavin and I have had the blessing of being able to see some pretty amazing places and eat some pretty amazing food (and some terrible food) but the world is SO big and SO full of fabulous cultural dishes, that we will never be able to try them all. So- I try to mix it up in the kitchen and bring the world to our table!
Now, this dish is DEFINITELY not a traditional Indian curry dish…or a traditional Ethiopian dish, BUT it is inspired by the flavors of Indian curry and the richness of Ethiopian lentil dishes that I have had recently. It is full of bold flavors and full of nutrition!
I not only love lentils for their meaty texture and versatility (you can cook them forever into a lentil-y mash or boil them until they are slightly al dente and eat them in salads) but they are a nutritional powerhouse!
One cup of lentils has less than 1 gram of fat, only 230 calories 16 grams of fiber (wow!) and 17 grams of protein! They are FULL of folate, magnesium and vitamin B- they help your body to stabilize blood sugar, produce iron and prevent heart disease. (If that’s not a great, food, I don’t know what is)!
So, to spotlight the lentils, and allow them to really shine- I topped cooked them and then topped them with a light and crisp curry citrus dressing and then added the bold flavors of red onion, shaved fennel, fresh oranges and sweet dried cranberries.
Lentil Salad with Curry-Citrus Vinaigrette
2 C black lentils
2 t salt
6 C water
1/2 C red onion, shaved thin
1/2 C fresh fennel club, shaved thin
2 navel oranges, peeled with a knife and then segmented
1/4 C dried cranberries
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 T curry powder
2 t dijon mustard
1 t agave or brown sugar
1 orange, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t tumeric
In a medium pot over high heat, combine the lentils, salt and water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes (until the lentils are chewy- not mushy!)
Drain all of the water off of the lentils and set aside to cool.
Now, make the vinaigrette. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until incorporated.
Pour the dressing over the lentils and toss. Now top the lentils with shaved red onion, shaved fennel, orange segments, cranberries and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.