So it turns out you can makes friends with salad.
This comes from Hetty McKinnon‘s book Community: salad recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen which I cannot recommend highly enough. It was the second one I cooked and there’s about ten others I’ve tagged. (Sidenote: she is now based in Brooklyn, NYC. Blackbird, get onto it.)
They are all designed as meals which I strongly endorse. That said, I have made them also cooked a protein on the side as while the boys are now pretty good (read: great) at eating/trying everything it’s quite confronting for them to think the salad is “it”.
My main tip for this recipe is don’t think the honey-roasted walnuts are optional. They lift the salad from salad to SALAD!. BUT – when cooking them watch them like a hawk, as in every 2 minutes, tossing them every time so the ones cooking more quickly on the edge get rotated with the ones in the middle. They will burn in an instant so be vigilant. BUT – totally worth it. I also followed Hettie’s suggestion to make double so you have leftovers to snack on. A brilliant idea indeed.
And as I say with so many of my posts, make it your own:
- Don’t like rocket, use English spinach.
- Use herbs you love or mix it up each time to create what feels like a whole new dish.
- Don’t even be that exacting with the measurements for the spices, just scatter them over and go for it. I’m actually not the hugest fan of cumin (stinky sports socks anyone?) so upped the cinnamon and dialed down the cumin.
- Don’t have any sweet potato in the house? Potatoes and/or pumpkin would work a treat.
- This would also be fantastic with some diced streaky bacon or pancetta that you throw in with the roasting sweet potato for the last 10 minutes or so.
- 3 sweet potatoes (around 2kgs) cut into 2cm cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- sea salt and pepper
- 1-2 tins lentils, drained (I used 1 but could easily have used two) (McKinnon uses 250g Puy lentils which she cooks for 20 minutes and then drains)
- 1 cup fresh herbs (suggestions: mint, parsley, coriander, chives, dill, tarragon)
- Baby rocket - around 2 cups but just go on sight
- 50 g shaved parmesan
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
- ½ tsp turmeric
- pinch sea salt
- 2 cups walnuts
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Combine potatoes with spices and olive oil and season well
- Roast for 20-30 minutes
- Combine everything in a jar and give a good shake
- Combine the honey and spices and add some water to make a thick paste (I made this in the height of a Sydney summer so the honey was very runny and I found I didn't really need to add the water.)
- Toss the walnuts with the mix then spread on a baking tray lined with baking paper (less mess)
- Roast for 15 minutes or until the walnuts are crunchy and almost dry (Keep your eye on them and keep turn them every two minutes or so the ensure they cook evenly and don't burn. I basically work on the principal that once they had good colour they were done.)
- (Because McKinnon's recipe cooks the lentils (rather than using tinned) I poured lentils, liquid and all into a bowl and cooked for a minute in the microwave to heat them up.) Then:
- Combine the vinaigrette with the lentils
- Combine the sweet potatoes, lentils (and therefore vinaigrette), half the herbs and rocket
- Scatter over the walnuts, remaining herbs and parmesan