This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a statement suggesting that cured meat has been linked to cancer (duh!). Some of my smug vegetarian friends have been rubbing it in my face on social media, which has irritated me. As I smile through gritted teeth, I know that my iron and protein levels are higher than most of them however I do give my body a rest from animal meat at least twice a week. This week is slightly different, as for some reason I don't feel like consuming meat (and this was before the WHO released their scare statement). It's Wednesday night and I decided to try something totally different as my husband is away and thought I could create something without fearing criticism. Originally it started as a warm carrot and lentil salad but after raiding my fridge I freestyled further and added other goodies. It's a sweet salad but you can alway omit the fruit and replace with other root vegetables.
I am a fan of sweet meals, anything from tagines riddled with prunes to rice laced with barberries. You get the jist, that hint of sweetness to cut through some of the heat really appeals to me (but not my husband). This dish is just that - spicy but sweet. Looking back, I really could have added more freshness like thin slices of radish but I will do it next week! Enjoy this scrumptious warm salad.
1 cup Beluga Lentils washed
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 3/4 cm slices
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1.5 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala (or ras el hanout)
1 ripe mango, coarse diced (1.5 cups)
small bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pistachios or cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
1. Place washed lentils in a large pan. Ensure water covers the lentils by an extra 3-5cms. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain then put in a bowl (don't leave in colander as they tend to go soggy).
2. Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add carrots and cook in a single layer – they’ll give off a bit of water at first. Keep cooking, tossing gently every three or four minutes until the carrots are deeply browned, about 12 minutes.
3. Push carrots to the side, add a bit more oil, then add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add in your drained, cooked lentils with the cinnamon and garam masala. Stir to toss and cook until heated through.
5. Carefully add in the mangoes, stirring to combine well and keep heated.
6. Stir in coriander and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. If your mango is not that sweet, you may need to add agave/honey. Sprinkle with nuts just prior to serving.