Who’s crazy enough to turn the oven on these days? With humidex, it’s been 35C for the past couple of days and eating a hot meal feels as intuitive as eating ice cream to warm up from the blizzard. A new community centre opened up in our neighbourhood this month, so we’ve been cooling off in the massive outdoor pool almost daily. Lucky for us, it’s a short 3-minute bike ride from our place. You’ll know where to find me this summer.
Today’s recipe for arugula & lentil salad with strawberry-balsamic dressing is as fresh as it gets. The arugula and garlic scapes came from our garden; the strawberries, straight from a farm in my hometown; the basil, from our balcony garden; and the fromage frais, from a local artisan cheese-maker. It’s the perfect light meal for the heatwave. With lentils and cheese, it’s more filling than it looks. But trust me, it will leave you feeling light, clean and refreshed.
P.S. Simply omit the cheese for a vegan version.
P.P.S. More refreshing salads.
Arugula & Lentil Salad with Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing
For the salad:
- 6-8 cups fresh arugula
- 1.5 cups cooked lentils (~3/4 cup dry)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 3 garlic scapes, finely minced (or green onions / scallions)
- 1 cup fromage frais (or cottage cheese or ricotta) – optional, omit for a vegan salad
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing (yields ~1.5 cups):
- 1.5 cups fresh strawberries
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup flaxseed oil
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- Pinch of salt
If not already done, first cook the lentils. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt and the lentils to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain any excess water and set aside.
Dry toast the almonds over medium heat for a few minutes until golden. Set aside.
For the dressing: In the measuring beaker that came with your hand blender (or in a mason jar), add the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, water, flaxseed oil, basil leaves and a pinch of salt.
Process the dressing until nice and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be done a few hours (up to one day) ahead of time.
To assemble the salad: Place a large handful of arugula on each plate. Sprinkle ~1/4 cup cooked lentils, a generous pinch of minced garlic scapes and decorate with fresh strawberry pieces.
Top with fromage frais if using, and sprinkle the toasted almonds and basil chiffonade over each plate.
Pour the strawberry-balsamic dressing over the salad and savour at once.