Kale, Lentil, and Eggplant Salad with Pesto
I often find my favorite salads are the ones I throw together with the last produce I have for the week. I don’t have any recipe in mind and I usually have to get a bit creative to make the hodgepodge ingredients left in the fridge somehow fit together. This was one of those salads and, true to form, was awesome. I absolutely loved the combination of lentils with eggplant and the huge scoop of pesto gave it so much flavor. Sweet tomatoes rounded out all the umami flavors and the kale gave it the heartiness to make it meal worthy. If you don’t like eggplant (I have a dear friend who, gasp, doesn’t like eggplant!), I think roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, or fennel could all work as substitutes.
For the salad:
- 1 medium eggplant, cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup dry lentils
- 1-2 bunches of kale, ribs removed and cut into ribbons
- 4-5 small tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2-3 splashes red wine vinegar
For the walnut pesto:
- 1 large handful raw walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss eggplant cubes in olive oil and place in a baking dish. Roast until browned and tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Cook lentils using a 2:1 water to lentils ratio. I use my rice maker on the quick setting and remove the lentils when there is still about 10 minutes to go as I like them a tad al dente.
3. Prepare your pesto by adding all ingredients to a food processor and blending.
4. Assemble salad by transferring kale to a large bowl. Top with tomatoes, roasted eggplant, lentils and pesto. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and toss well. Add more salt and red wine vinegar, to taste. Divide salad into 4 equal servings.
Yields: 4 servings
Per serving: 31-39 g carbohydrates