The mix of colours, flavours and textures in this blue cheese, lentil and pear salad makes it a very satisfying meal. You may not think of adding lentils to a salad but they add a lovely earthy flavour and for those on a gluten-free and wheat-free diet they are a great alternative to using pasta or croutons, helping to make a salad more substantial. The blue cheese adds a salty tangy flavour but you could replace it with crumbled feta or goat’s cheese for the same effect. You can prepare this salad in advance, just toss the pear slices in lemon juice to prevent them turning brown, and add the dressing just before serving.
- 200g brown or green lentils¼ red cabbage, shredded
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced
- 100g blue cheese such as Stilton or Gorgonzola, crumbled
- 2tbsp white wine vinegar
- 6tbsp olive oil
- 2tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch of caster sugar
Cook the lentils in a pan of boiling (not salted) water for 20 mins until just tender.
While the lentils are cooking, place the shredded cabbage in a salad bowl with the walnuts and pears.
To make the mustard dressing, place the vinegar, olive oil, mustard and sugar in a small bowl or scew top jar. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and whisk together, or shake if using a screw top jar, until combined.
Drain the lentils, rinse in cold water to cool then drain again. Add to the salad bowl with the dressing and combine to mix. Scatter over the blue cheese.
Brown or green lentils are the best lentils to use for salads as they retain their shape when cooked, whereas red split lentils soften to a puree which is more suited for thickening soups, casseroles and curries.