This is one of those pretty colorful dishes that you feel good about serving your family because you know it is full of nutrients. You can keep that bit of trivia to yourself, though, as you watch them gobble it up. We love a good play of roasted broccoli. The thinly sliced pieces char nicely; be sure to use two pans so you don’t pile the slices up too high. The slicing is easiest with a mandolin but you could use a box shredder, too, if you don’t have one.
I used two kinds of lentils; if you only have one, or have only brown lentils, use what you have on hand. Otherwise, hopefully everything is already in your cupboard!
Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad
5 - 6 servings
For the salad:
1 cup dried French green lentils
1 cup black lentils
1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
2 dried bay leaves
2 medium heads of broccoli
1 dash olive oil, for roasting
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
6 ounces feta, cut into small cubes
1 large handful Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
For smoky tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
3 tablespoons water, or more to adjust consistency
1 T paprika
1 tsp ancho pepper
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch red pepper or aleppo flakes and salt, to taste
To cook lentils: Rinse lentils and discard any pebbles. Place lentils, onion, bay leaves in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add additional liquid if needed. Drain the lentils, if necessary, discarding the onion and bay leaves.
To make tahini dressing: In a tall measuring cup, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing. Adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside until ready to use. Dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to three days.
To make broccoli: Heat your broiler and line two pans with foil. Set aside. Remove leaves and trim the stem of any discolored areas. Cut head into quarters. Use a mandolin, the slicing blade of a food processor, or a sharp knife to cut the broccoli, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. This is definitely easiest/least messy if are using a mandolin and you do the slicing right on the sheet pans. Spread out in an even layer. Place the broccoli under the broiler until it’s tender and charred and crispy in spots, about 5 to 10 minutes, shaking and stirring the pan once or twice. Watch it closely -- the thin pieces will cook quickly.
To assemble salad: In a large bowl, toss the lentils and carrots with the tahini dressing until the lentils are evenly coated. Taste for seasoning -- add more salt or a splash of sherry vinegar if needed. Fold in the broccoli, then the parsley and feta. Add the almonds just before serving so that they don’t get soft. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Tightly covered, the salad will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.