Lentil and Smoked Cheese Salad

I absolutely love this salad. It is surprisingly filling so can easily be a main meal. Just use brown, or dark green lentils, puy lentils are expensive and hard to get hold of in the UK.

If you can get smoked cheddar cheese, use this instead of the processed Austrian or German smoked cheese. However, these will do if you are at a loss. I absolutely love the smoked cheddar cheese that can be bought online from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. They gently cold smoke their prize winning cheddar using old oak whiskey barrels.

Another great way to cook with this fantastic cheese is to thinly slice it over hot roast potatoes 10 minutes before they are ready to come out of the oven – truly wonderful.

Lentil and Smoked Cheese Salad

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main)

400g dark lentils
1 pack of runner beans
½ pack mangetout
5 sun dried tomatoes (finely sliced)
100g baby plum tomatoes (halved)
1 red onion
150g smoked cheddar cheese (cubed)
1 handful of rocket
1 stock cube
2 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 mild chillies (sliced)
1 handful of mint (thinly sliced)

Dressing

Juice of one lime
1tsp Dijon mustard
Salt/pepper
2tsp balsamic vinegar
4tsp olive oil

Method

Firstly, put the stock cube in with the water and lentils and bring to the boil for about 20 minutes. Try not to put too much water in with the lentils, this is so you do not have to drain the lentils when they are cooked. There are usually instructions on the packet.

Slice the red onion as thinly as you can and put into a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together and pour on top of the red onion. Mix the dressing in really well with the onion. While you prepare the other ingredients, the vinegar will soften the strong raw onion tasting flavour and it should taste lovely and sweet.

Slice the tomatoes in half, and along with the mangetout, cubed cheese, rocket, mint, sun dried tomatoes, add to the onions and mix well.

In a pan, fry the chillies, garlic and runner beans in some olive oil.

Once the lentils are cooked, add them, along with the runner beans and its garlic and chilli juices to the rest of the salad and mix well so the cheese is just starting to melt before serving.

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