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Puy Lentil, Roast Grape and Fennel Salad

Serves 3
Takes 60 minutes 

This is a lovely fruity salad, rich yet light, and very satisfying indeed as a weekday tea for two, with enough left over for lunch the next day. Roasted grapes are amazing; even if the raw versions are a bit mediocre, baking them intensifies the flavour beautifully, so do give them a try

2 tbsp groundnut oil
180g puy lentils
½ red onion finely chopped
½ celery stick finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley stalks, fine chopped
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
good squeeze of lemon juice, plus a tad more for the fennel
2 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parley 
4 tbsp olive oil 
300g seedless grapes, broken into sprigs of 10-12 grapes
½ tbsp regular balsamic vinegar (the dark version)
½ bulb fennel, sliced and soaked in water for 30 minutes

  • Heat 1 tbsp groundnut oil in a saucepan and add the onion and celery and parsley stalks. Sauté until soft but not browned. Add the lentils and enough cold water to cover by about 2cm. (You may need to top up during cooking). Bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes until tender, and the water is fully absorbed. Allow to cool for a few minutes then and add the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, parsley and season to taste. Leave to cool to room temperature 
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Put the grapes on a baking sheet with another tbsp of groundnut oil and the regular balsamic vinegar. Bake until dehydrated – about 25 minutes. 
  • To assemble, drain the fennel and arrange on a plate. Squeeze with lemon juice, then add a good dollop of lentils and top with the grapes