The summer holidays are finally drawing to a close, and the start of semester is just around the corner. It’s been several months since I was last at university, and honestly, I’m quite excited to be going back. Having a few months off over the summer is great, but I miss the daily routine that uni provides. I like to know where I’m going and what I’m doing. This will be my final semester of my undergraduate degree, and I’m hoping to make the most of it.
One thing I always struggle with at uni is food. Being gluten intolerant, I prefer to pack my lunch rather than buy it, as there aren’t many gluten-free options on campus. But sandwiches get a little boring after a while, and with all the sitting and studying, I struggle to find a balance between calories in/calories out. So this year I have resolved to pack more healthy lunch options, such as salads and grain bowls. Which brings me to today’s recipe: Lentil, Carrot & Hazelnut Salad.
This salad makes a nice, light work/uni lunch, especially for those who are doing meat-free Fridays during Lent. Lentils are high in protein but low in fat and calories, which makes them a good ingredient to include in meat-free meals.
Herbs de Provence give the carrots extra flavour, while the vinaigrette adds acidity, and the hazelnuts round everything out with their warm, robust flavour and crunchy texture. The quantity of vinaigrette will be more than you need for two servings, but you can reserve it and use it later on another dish. It goes especially well with a crunchy lettuce and celery salad.
This being a salad, there is lots of room for customisation. You could add some leafy greens such as spinach or kale, you could garnish with parsley, or add another protein such as roast chicken or sliced steak for a non-vegetarian option. The dish is lovely as is, but if you want to switch things up a bit, be my guest. Let me know how it turns out, and don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list in the sidebar to get monthly email updates!
Lentil, Carrot & Hazelnut Salad
1/3 cup French lentils, rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 tbsp garlic oil (or olive oil)
1tsp Herbs de Provence
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup whole shelled hazelnuts
salt & pepper, to taste
2 black Russian tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1tsp runny honey
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on baking tray, and roast for 15 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, shake the tray to turn the hazelnuts over.
- Meanwhile, chop the carrots into quarters lengthways, and then into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Place lentils in a small pot, and cover with 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. If the water evaporates before the lentils have finished cooking, add an extra 1/4 cup of hot water from the kettle.
- When hazelnuts have finished roasting, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on tray. Place carrots in a roasting pan, drizzle with garlic oil, and sprinkle over herbs de Provence, cayenne, salt and pepper. Roast at 180ºC for 35 minutes or until tender but still slightly firm in the centre.
- Once hazelnuts have cooled enough to handle, lift up the edges of the parchment paper to scoop up all the hazelnuts into the centre of the paper. Use the paper to give the hazelnuts a vigorous rub, until the skins start to flake off. Once most of the skins have been removed, transfer the hazelnuts to an airtight container and set aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, combine olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar and shake well to combine. Drain cooked lentils and set aide. Slice tomatoes into thin wedges.
- Remove carrots from oven. Place lentils, carrots, and sliced tomatoes into a bowl and toss to combine. Divide between plates, drizzle with vinaigrette, and top with hazelnuts. Serve warm or cold.
Keeping time: 3 days in the fridge. Store the hazelnuts separately in an airtight container in the cupboard.