This post is sponsored by Toby’s Family Foods, but all recipes and opinions are my own.
Happy National Salad Month!! May is the very start of the summer harvest season in my opinion–it’s when you’re going to start seeing breakfast radishes around and fresh spring onions; all the greens!! (I use greens loosely in this case). They come in an array of colors really. You’ll start seeing greens you’ve never heard of before. I still remember the summer I found red mizuna for the first time. It was stacked up high in mounds about eye level in the corner stand at the market, and it caused me to do a triple take from the center aisle. I decided for this recipe post I would try to incorporate its sharp, jagged leaves in marriage with the soft, delicate curvature of butter lettuce. I absolutely love the complimentary silhouettes and flavors. I’m not sure whether you’ve made your way to your local farmer’s market yet, but greens are at their sweet peak. If you’re just getting acquainted I heartily recommend getting a bag of mixed greens to start–or perhaps something that will make you double-take.
Here in Portland, OR, the Shemanski Park Farmer’s Market is one of the earliest seasonal markets to kick back into gear. Located in downtown park blocks off SW Salmon, the market occurs every Wednesday through October 10am-2pm and the vendors shift throughout, but there are consistently four produce vendors and some really delicious breads from Pearl Bakery (I covet a good Paesano loaf myself–they sell out before noon usually). On one trip I was able to gather all of the fresh produce needed to curate this salad. I then gathered the rest of the ingredients at my local Safeway, including Toby’s Ranch Dressing and naan, which I sliced then toasted for crunch and maximum dressing dippability.
This is my second year putting a beautiful salad together on behalf of Toby’s Family Foods. You can check out last year’s recipe at the bottom of the post by clicking its picture. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me explain zhug. This green sauce originated in the area of Yemen and was popular in Israel, but is now (thankfully) widely popular all over the world. Per Wikipedia, zhug is made from fresh red or green hot peppers (in most cases I’ve seen, serranos chiles) seasoned with coriander, garlic, salt, black cumin (optional) and various spices. Some also add caraway seed. Zhug may be red or green depending on the type of peppers used (site).
So without further adieu, I give you my yummiest of new salad obsessions.
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Lentils, Zhug & Toby’s Ranch Dressing
- 4 Beets, sliced and lightly tossed in olive oil
- 4 Large carrots, sliced and lightly tossed in olive oil
- 1 Bunch of breakfast radishes, sliced
- 1 C Green lentils, rinsed
- 1 Large clove garlic, smashed
- 1 Bayleaf
- 3 C Water
- 8 oz Zhug, either homemade or store bought (look in the refrigerated section near dressing)
- 1 T Tahini
- 1 Head butter lettuce, washed and torn
- 1 Head red mizuna, washed and torn
- 4-5 naan, sliced then toasted to preferable doneness
- Toby’s Ranch Dressing
I recommend starting this recipe by prepping the roasted vegetables and lentils ahead to allow them ample cooling time. The lettuce in this recipe is relatively delicate, and will wilt if topped with hot ingredients. You can prepare the items up to 3 days in advance.
Place beets and carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet, lightly salt and roast at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, flipping everything over once and applying more oil if sticking occurs. Doneness with vegetables can be to personal preference. You’ll notice in the images here that the carrots are a bit black on the edges–I accomplish this by tossing the pan under the broiler for about 4-5 min at the end of roasting to create some additional crunch and flavor, which is, of course, optional.
While vegetables are in the oven, prepare the lentils. Measure out 1 cup of lentils and rinse under cold water. Combine the lentils in a medium saucepan with garlic, bayleaf and water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer (minimum bubbles), and cook (stirring occasionally) for 20 minutes or until al dente (with a slight springiness) on your palate. Drain water from the lentils and remove and discard the garlic and bayleaf–cool lentils alongside vegetables and store separately in airtight containers.
This salad comes together pretty quickly–the only steps left are to toss together the zhug, tahini and lentils. Taste the zhug alone prior to assembly because its spice can vary. When making this salad for a large group, I’ll chop the vegetables smaller an make a sort of tossed chopped salad, but when just cooking for myself I prefer it as pictured.
Combine the two lettuces, zhug-and-tahini-covered lentils, beets, carrots, radish, and naan. Now drizzle with the ranch and enjoy!
Recipe serves 4 as entree, 6 for starter course. this recipe can be made GF by omitting the naan