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 Pancakes
- 1 1/3 cups (120 ml) 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
- 1/2 medium red onion diced - $0.17
- 400 grams (14 oz) cooked brown lentils - $0.75
- 1 pear thinly sliced - $0.32
- 1/2 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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