Apple and Cumin Lentil Salad Recipe

Salade de Lentilles Pomme et Cumin

[Apple and Cumin Lentil Salad]

This past Saturday, our dear friends Laurence and Jean-Christophe threw a housewarming party (pendaison de crémaillère if you remember) in their cool new apartment, just off Bastille. Laurence had asked if we could bring a little something and I had gathered from reliable sources that Marie-Laure and Ludo were going to bring Ludo’s famous cheesecake. I felt that the sweet ground was thus amply covered and decided to make a salad.

I didn’t feel like going to the store to pick up ingredients, so I played a little game of peek-in-the-fridge-rummage-the-kitchen-cabinets-forage-the-drawers, which resulted in this lentil and apple salad, featuring a little tofu for protein and color contrast, and flavored with shallots, cumin and chopped parsley.

I also had a few sheets of brick dough leftover. Brick dough is a very thin wheat dough, somewhat similar to phyllo dough, which is used in North African cuisine. Brick dough tends to dry out pretty quickly once the package is open, so I had the idea of baking the ones I had left into pretty little toppings to decorate the salad.

I very much liked how this salad turned out, and I received very kind compliments from the guests at the crémaillère. And there is also a particular charm to serendipitous recipes, no?

Salade de Lentilles Pomme et Cumin

– 250 g green lentils (preferably lentilles vertes du Puy)
– 2 shallots
– 1 cube of bouillon
– 1 gala apple
– 8 sprigs of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
– 200 g tofu

Dressing :
– 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil (substitute olive oil)
– 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt, pepper, piment d’espelette (substitute red pepper flakes) – to taste

Topping (optional) :
– 2 sheets of brick dough (or phyllo dough)

(Serves 6.)

Peel and chop the shallots. Put the lentils in a large saucepan, and add 3 times their volume of cold salted water. Bring to a boil, add the shallots and the cube of bouillon, stir, and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are al dente : cooked, but still a little crunchy and not yet mushy. Drain the lentils.

Peel and dice the apple, and cook it in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the apple pieces are softened but still retain their shapes.

Put the tofu in a soup plate, cover with another plate, and put something heavy on top (like a carton of milk). This will press the liquid out of the tofu, allowing it to absorb the salad dressing instead. After about 15 minutes, lift both plates together and discard the tofu juice that’s been drained out. Dice the tofu.

Rinse the parsley under cold water and dry with a paper towel. Pluck the leaves off the sprigs, throw the sprigs in the freezer to flavor soup some other day, and chop the leaves.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut the sheets of brick dough in one-inch pieces of random shapes. Spread the pieces out on a cookie sheet, and put into the oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add the lentils, tofu, apples and parsley, and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours if possible.

Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with a few chips.

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  • jackie

    What an interesting combination! And I love the slapdash, what’s-in-the-cupboard? recipes that turn out to be huge successes.

  • Derrick Schneider

    Sounds very yummy. We did a a lentil salad with apples and corn and pecans (I think) a while back, and we were also enchanted by this combination.

    Funny that I think of your “brick dough” as feuille de brik. (at least it sounds like they’re the same). Though I haven’t used it for this, I often see it used as neat garnish–spirals and the like.

  • clotilde

    Jackie – Love the “slapdash” expression!

    Derrick – Yes they’re the same! The two spellings are used it seems. Which makes sense, as the original word is in Arabic… And when you’ve seen them used as garnish, do you thing they were brushed with some kind of fat and baked, or baked as is, or fried?

  • Eric

    Sounds quite tasty, I’ve been looking for a good way to try out tofu (outside of a restaurant, that is), and I think I’ve found it. Also, the “What do we have in the cupboard” theme is the basis of anything I make, so I’ll definitely be giving this a try shortly. Thanks for the recipe.

  • kitten

    This sounds good! Have you ever tried tofu that has been frozen and defrosted? If takes on a totally different texture-much more chewy and spongy, and it absorbs any sauce immediately. I often use it as a veg option for “un”-chicken ceasar salad…

  • clotilde

    Eric – I’m glad this appeals to you, let me know how you like it!

    Kitten – Oh I hadn’t noticed the change of texture in frozen-thawed tofu, that’s good to know, thanks!

  • Orik

    This sounds quite lovely. If one is allowed to make a minor suggestion – it would probably be nice to toast the cumin seeds and grind them just prior to use. Of lesser importance – a cube of frozen home made bouillon and crushed fresh garlic instead of powder could be better (although admittedly, sometimes the garlic you can get this time of year is not very good).

  • Jo Wong

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m a vegetarian and i tried it for dinner tonight. FANTASTIC!!!! i was actually looking for a fondue recipe and stumbled upon this! seems to me like a very nice “fusion” dish as it has asian and western ingedients.

  • Zeina

    Although I have cooked many dishes with lentils, but never combined with apples. I love the idea and can’t wait to try it.

  • sandrine

    My smokey suggestion: add a bacon-like flavor to the tofu by sauteing it briefly in oil and *smoked salt*. (But then no cumin maybe)
    C’est délicieux!

  • janet

    Clotilde, I used this as a base for my salad. I added wild rice and carrots and didn’t cook the onions. Loved the combination of flavours! Thanks for sharing!

    I wrote about my salad here.

    • clotilde

      Your variation looks great, Janet, thanks for sharing!

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