This ‘go to’ salad is perfect for a super quick lunch and is substantial too, so will keep you full through the afternoon, but it doesn’t end there!! It makes a great vegetarian starter and could be served as one of a selection of salads for a larger meal. Why not spoon some into a container when you want to take lunch on the go! It’s so quick to make and for a great short-cut, I often use the little pouches of cooked organic beetroot you can buy, they’re such a good stand-by, just be sure not to pick up pickled beetroot by mistake!
The goat’s cheese dressing is so delicious, you don’t need to keep it just for this recipe. With the warmer weather and longer days our thoughts change to summer foods, lighter dishes and the anticipation of all the new seasons produce that spring and summer can bring. Try the dressing on barbecued or griddled vegetables, such as aubergine, peppers and courgettes. It would make a perfect accompaniment to steamed or barbecued asparagus, look out for fresh British asparagus coming into season any minute now! I also think it would be a great side to a summer roast chicken with a variety of salads as well as making a great topping for a burger or lamb kofta! However you chose to eat it, relax, enjoy and to complete that summer feeling, I highly recommend a glass of chilled rosé!
This salad has massive benefits for digestive health, you can read on at the end of the recipe to find out more!
400g can of green lentils
1 red onion
250g cooked beetroot
salt and pepper
50g rocket leaves
50g roughly chopped hazelnuts
For the dressing;
150g mild soft goats cheese such as Chavroux
2tbsp live natural yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
about 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
3 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Rinse and drain the lentils the well. Place in a large bowl.
Peel and finely slice the red onion, roughly dice the beetroot and add to the lentils. Drizzle over 2tbsp olive oil, the finely grated rind of the lemon and 2tbsp of the lemon juice. Season well.
To make the dressing; place the goats cheese, yogurt and crushed garlic in a bowl and mix together until smooth and combined. Stir in the lemon juice and the chopped herbs with plenty of seasoning to taste.
Just before serving toss the rocket into the lentil mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the lentils with a generous spoon of dressing and a sprinkling of hazelnuts. To finish add an extra little drizzle of olive oil.
Lentils are a great source of dietary fibre. If you are suffering from bloating or constipation its a good idea to increase both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. It’s also important to increase water consumption to allow the fibre to do its job efficiently and to avoid making the symptoms worse. The fibre, in the presence of water will cause the contents of the gut to swell. This increase in bulk will trigger stretch receptors in the gut wall to contract. This peristaltic action will push the digested matter through the dietary tract and make it easier to expel waste matter from the body.
Onions can help ease bloating and constipation due to a compound they contain called inulin, which has prebiotic properties. A prebiotic will support growth and development of the good bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria will help to regulate many aspects of gut health from gut contractions, repair of the gut wall, help digest carbohydrates as well as providing support to the body’s immune system. Maintaining the integrity of the gut microbiome will ease symptoms of bloating and constipation.
Beetroot is a good source of fibre, which will help ease bloating and constipation by keeping the contents moving through the digestive tract. Beetroot also contains the purple pigment, betacyanin, which helps the liver process toxins efficiently, thereby aiding removal from the body. (Pinnock, 2015)
Although not used in large quantities in this recipe it is worth mentioning the benefits of including a probiotic live yogurt in the diet. Above, we looked at the importance of including a prebiotic food (eg. onions) in the diet to feed the good bacteria in the gut. A good quality live yogurt will actually add these bacteria to the gut. A well established colony of good bacteria in the gut will ease bloating, aid digestion and regulate gut motility, as well as ensuring bad bacteria do not become dominant in the gut, which create gas as they ferment waste products.
Mint contains the essential oil, Menthol, which has a carminative effect. This means it will help release trapped gas and ease bloating by causing receptors in the gut wall to trigger muscle relaxation in the muscles of the dietary tract. The effect can be quickly felt and the benefit quickly observed!
Pinnock/D Medicinal Cookery,. UK, 2015, Robinson