This autumn lentil salad served over chickpea pancakes is a protein-packed meal that’s easy to make and makes use of the best of the season’s produce. Serve this salad warm or cold, as a main or as a side. It’s great as a make-ahead meal or to take to a potluck. Is there anything this salad doesn’t do?
So you’ll notice that I’m totally on a lentils kick right now. It was just a couple days ago that I published this red lentil chili recipe and now I’m back with another, this time featuring good old brown lentils. There’s been a chill in the air and pomegranates in the supermarket so I thought it the perfect time to put together this autumn lentil salad recipe!
I make this salad on a lark over the weekend with some odds and ends I had leftover in my fridge. I also have a very overgrown basil plant on my roof (yes, I garden on my roof) which was in desperate need of pruning so it all came together into this autumn lentil salad.
Turns out that everything works so well together: the earthiness of the lentils, the sweetness of the sweet potato, the juiciness of the pears and pomegranate, and the bitterness of the arugula. It’s all tied together with a tangy, herby orange-basil dressing and bulked up with a tasty chickpea pancake to serve on the side or as a base to pile the lentil salad high on top of. Not only is this autumn lentil salad delicious, it’s nice to look at too!
The chickpea pancake is a sort of a French socca or Italian farinata. It’s super simple: just chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil. If you don’t have it already, chickpea flour is a great addition to a vegan pantry. I use it to make vegan quiches, vegan omelettes, Burmese tofu, and these gluten-free savoury pancakes.
I like to bake my chickpea pancakes because they get nice, slightly charred bits on top. I’m lucky enough to have four 15 cm (6 inch) oven-safe pans I can stick in the oven all at once and get four perfect pancakes. If you don’t, you can make one big pancake in a large oven-safe dish (it doesn’t matter if it’s round or not) and cut it up to serve or you can make them one by one on a pan over medium-high heat on the stove.
Autumn Lentil Salad with Chickpea PancakesPrint Recipe
- 1 1/3 cups (120 grams) chickpea flour - $0.48
- 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) water - $0.00
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus a bit more for the pan, divided - $0.20
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt - $0.03
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced - $0.93
- 1 packed cup (40 grams) fresh basil - $3.00
- 1 clove of garlic - $0.08
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice - $0.22
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar - $0.03
- Half a medium red onion, diced - $0.17
- 400 grams (14 oz) cooked brown lentils - $0.75
- 1 pear, thinly sliced - $0.32
- Half a pomegranate - $1.00
- 50 grams (1.8 oz) arugula / rocket - $1.00
Combine the chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl and whisk well. Let sit to hydrate while you prepare the salad, the longer you let it sit the better to allow the flour to hydrate. Give it a good final whisking just before baking to remove all the lumps.
Put the diced sweet potatoes on to boil until tender. If baking the chickpea pancakes, preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) and place your pans or baking dish inside to heat up (I divided mine between 4 -15 cm / 6 inch pans but you can also make one big one. See the text above for different ways to cook the pancakes).
In a small food processor, blend the basil, orange juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, garlic and vinegar until smooth.
Toss together the lentils, cooked sweet potato, red onion, pomegranate seeds, arugula and pear and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
To bake the chickpea pancakes, carefully remove your pans or baking dish from the oven and add a generous glug of olive oil. Tilt the pans to cover the entire surface and pour in the pancake batter. Bake in the centre of the oven for 5 – 7 minutes, or until the top sets, then move the pans to the upper-most rack under the broiler for 3 – 4 more minutes to brown on top. Watch them carefully, they can burn!
Let the pancakes cool slightly before removing them from the pans. They can stick a bit so use a spatula. Serve the pancakes either on the side with the salad or on 4 plates with the lentil salad piled on top. Drizzle over the orange-basil dressing.
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