A winter salad with blood orange and lentils
I’m not sure that I agree with a strict interpretation of the whole “New Year Detox” thing. At least not if you live in the Northern hemisphere. Sure, cut down on portion sizes and avoid sweet things if you overdid it during the festive season. But why deny yourself warming, filling and indulgent food when it is bound to be cold, dark and wet most of the time? And on the days you do crave something a little fresher, a little bit brighter, a salad such as this one will hit the spot while keeping the winter chills at bay.
Blood oranges are such a treat in the colder months and add a sense of drama to any dish. Before juicing the halves for the dressing, I cut off one slice and add this, with the skin still on, to the blender. This, and the tahini, add a delicious bitterness to the salad, which I find particularly appealing, but feel free to omit it. If you struggle to find the shichimi togarashi spice blend for the dressing, you could make your own by combining 2 tablespoons of chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon coarsely ground sichuan (or black) peppercorns, a tablespoon each of white and black sesame seeds, and dried tangerine or orange peel, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger, and lastly 2 tablespoons of seaweed (nori, wakame flakes or arame). Also remember, when consuming raw spinach, to include foods in the meal that are high in vitamin C (such as blood oranges), as it helps with assimilation of the iron and blocks the oxalate from binding to calcium, encouraging further absorption.
Lentil and blood orange salad
Serves 2 – 4
Ingredients for the dressing
1 blood orange, 1 slice and the rest juiced
80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
15ml (1 tablespoon) tahini
30ml (2 tablespoons) rice vinegar
15ml (1 tablespoon) naturally fermented shoyu or soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
squeeze of lemon
pinch of sea salt
shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice blend) to taste
Ingredients for the salad
100g (about 1 cup) cooked puy lentils
2 large handfuls of greens, including baby spinach
1/2 large cucumber, sliced
2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
1 large carrot, grated or thinly sliced
1/2 medium fennel, grated or thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- Blend together all the dressing ingredients. If you don’t own a high-speed blender, do not add a slice of orange with the peel on, as it will not be ground up smoothly enough. Instead, add some grated zest. Adjust seasoning, ensuring a lovely balance between salty, bitter, sweet and sour.
- Just before serving, toss together the warm lentils, the rest of the salad ingredients and enough dressing to coat.