The most delicious recipes often come from those empty fridge moments, where you have barely anything in the house, and are forced to create something delicious out of very little. These moments for me spark my kitchen creativity, and push me to think of different ways to combine and season the ingredients at hand. This salad came from a sparse fridge and a want for something hearty that we could picnic on outside. I sweetened and spiced the sweet potato in cumin and maple syrup, adding red pepper to roast until sweet and wilted. Green lentils don’t come out to play often in my house, but when in need of a little extra protein, and paired with flavourful vegetables like we have here, this adds a great texture to a filling salad. The dressing for this salad is simple, and you can double it up if you’d like to have some waiting around for lunch tomorrow.
One last tip: If you’re making this dish for 2-3 then dress before you serve, if you’re making a big batch for leftovers dress upon serving, as the salad holds up much better in the fridge without its flavourful counterpart.
4 medium sweet potatoes
2 large red peppers
1 cup green lentils
1 raw beetroot
4 large handfuls of spinach
4 large handfuls of watercress (if you don’t like watercress sub for another leafy green!)
2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Chilli flakes
1/4 tbsp Salt
4 tbsp Olive Oil
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
A twist of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Start by pealing the 4 sweet potatoes. Chop in half, at a slight diagonal angle, and then continue to slice medium-thick circular pieces.
Now slice the red peppers, chop off both ends and then continue to chop down the width of the pepper creating circular pieces.
Lay both the red peppers and sweet potatoes out on a roasting tray and add a good drizzle of olive oil, cumin, maple syrup, chilli flakes and salt. Toss with your hands to coat each piece of sweet potato and pepper evenly. Place in the oven and leave to cook for around 45 minutes until the sweet potato is soft and slightly crisp on the outside. Set your timer for every 15 minutes, turning the vegetables over to cook evenly on both sides.
Next place one cup of dried green lentils in a pan and cover well with 4 cups of water, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes. Keep checking and adding small amounts of water if needed.
Prepare the beetroot by peeling the outside skin, and using a grater to grate the beetroot.
Wash 4 large handfuls of spinach and 4 handfuls of watercress.
Once all your components are cooked, set to the side and let cool.
In a large salad bowl add all the ingredients: your cooked sweet potato, red pepper, green lentils, spinach and watercress. Mix together all the ingredients for the salad dressing and pour over the salad. Toss well, and serve!