Recipe courtesy of Sarah Bradley, adapted from Alive Magazine.
We’re nearing winter, when kitchen creations centre on root vegetables, grains, pulses, and other locally available goodies from Karma. But for now, we are still lucky to have access to some bright, colourful produce that brings memories of warmer days to our kitchens. For those of us whose work days can be long and time in the kitchen limited, it’s nice to have simple yet hearty dishes that can be prepared on days off and be savoured throughout the week.
I was inspired to make this salad during a recent visit to Karma, when the discounted produce shelf was brimming with violet eggplant, red peppers, and both yellow and green zucchini – what a luxury! I picked up a clove of garlic, a bunch of parsley, a lemon, and filled a jar of lentils, and rushed home, eager to get cooking.
This dish is bursting with flavour and different textures. It will fill your kitchen with the aroma of roasting vegetables and herbs and the satisfying earthiness of brown lentils. A rich, flavourful dressing holds it all together.
Best of all, it’s one of those meals that almost tastes even better as leftovers! After a long week, it’s so lovely to open one’s fridge to a hearty meal. Just reheat on your stovetop or in a casserole dish in your oven, top it off with more fresh herbs and serve alongside a steaming mug of tea or apple cider. It’s just the meal to fill your belly and hold in the warmth for these increasingly chilly evenings. I hope you enjoy!
1 cup (250 mL) dry brown or green lentils
2 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 red peppers, quartered
1 medium red onion, quartered
1 cup (250 mL) extra-firm tofu, crumbled (press first to get rid of excess liquid)
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced Kalamata olives (optional)
1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
Approx. 1 cup (250 mL) fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley)
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, for roasting veggies
Start by salting your eggplant. Sprinkle cut sides of eggplant with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.
While that’s happening, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Prepare two pans either by adding parchment paper or lightly oiling them.
Next, cook those lentils. Place lentils, a pinch of salt, and 4 cups (1 L) water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until lentils have softened. Drain.
Place all veggies in a large bowl. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the two trays in the oven and roast for ~20 minutes. Check frequently to ensure they don’t burn – it really depends on your oven.
Once the veggies have cooled, remove from pans and cut into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) pieces, place in a salad bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes. Toss with lentils, crumbled tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.
Time to make your dressing! In a small blender, add olive oil, vinegar, herbs, garlic, maple syrup, tahini, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add any additional torn herbs as a final touch.
Now dive into those flavours and the satisfaction of preparing a meal that can be enjoyed throughout the week.