Truth be told, a lot of folks don’t actually understand why I’ve embarked on a month-long break from white flour, refined sugars and dairy. From intense Q&A sessions (Wait, so does this mean you’re vegan?! Why are you doing this to yourself? Don’t you miss cheese?) to the cashier at my morning coffee joint inquiring if I’m on a diet because I haven’t ordered my buttered multi-grain bagel in a week, I’ve been met with THE QUESTIONS.
Simply put, I was inspired to pursue these experiment because I love food and miss the diversity of it. I miss the excitement over what to make for dinner; the morning bagel has settled me into a slump. I never want to be complacent about anything — love, life, the food I set on the table — so when I found myself easing into the status quo, of ordering the same pesto pasta every night of the week, I put myself on pause and ordered a reset. And while it’s been challenging, it’s probably the most exciting gastronomic experiment I’ve done in years. I’ve discovered that almond milk is delicious, that gluten-free has come a long, long way since the cardboard breads of yore, and I miss the simplicity of flavorful salads and the myriad of ways in which they can be prepared.
And I miss gawking at beautiful meals, and I miss finding new ways to prepare them. So when I had a pound of lentils in my larder and a handful of carrots, I started an investigation to find the perfect recipe.
Enter Sarah Britton’s delightful and delicious Moroccan Carrot Ribbons + Black Lentil Salad. AHHH!! I missed the waft of cumin, the sizzle and spit of anise seeds as they fry on the pan. Preparing this dish was such a visceral memory of all the amazing recipes I used to make ages ago, and I had a fantastic time preparing this salad as I did consuming it.
The salad has a sweet, yet smoky flavor and you’ll love the tender strips of carrots against the meaty lentils. The prunes offer a terrific texture play, and this can be eaten as a main dish or a side with your favorite roast chicken. Enjoy!
Moroccan Carrot Ribbons and Black Lentils, Recipe courtesy of Whole Living Daily.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
1 cup black (beluga) lentils
2-3 large carrots
1 small red onion
½ cup each chopped mint and cilantro
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
½ tbsp. green anise seeds
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. ground coriander
pinch of cayenne or crushed chilies
1 tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. raw honey or agave
3 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
pinch of salt
Whisk the carrot marinade together in large bowl. Wash the carrots and using a peeler, peel long strips lengthwise and place in the bowl with the marinade. Let sit while you make the rest of the salad.
Soak the lentils first if possible. Drain and rinse well. Cook the lentils according to the package instructions (about 20-30 minutes) with a few pinches of salt, just until al dente – be careful not to over cook them. Drain and lightly rinse.
While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. First, toast the cumin and anise seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and using a mortar and pestle, give the seeds and rough grind (this is optional). Add all remaining dressing ingredients, whisk well. Add the warm lentils and marinated carrots, including any leftover marinade. Slice prunes and onions thinly and add. Add washed and chopped herbs. Season to taste. Serve.