July 26, 2009

Asian Lentil & Peanut Salad

Makes 4 Main Course servings

1 cup French dried lentils, boiled for about 20 minutes or until soft, drained
2 small Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed clean and diced
2 large bunches cilantro leaves, washed
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Ponzu or Citrus flavored soy sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons garlic chili pepper sauce
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup salted roasted peanuts

Combine the lentils and cucumbers in a bowl. In a food processor, puree the cilantro with sesame oil, Ponzu, mayonnaise, garlic chili pepper sauce and salt and toss with lentils and cucumbers. Add scallions and peanuts. Mix ingredients and season with more salt if you need to.

This is a recipe that Michele created for one of our regular Tuesday dinners together, that she subsequently forgot about (which is why I'm posting it here)! It is utterly delicious -- these simple ingredients combine to create a hearty, tasty dish that is great on its own or paired up with another recipe.


  1. This is funny. I had been reminded of this recipe but did not have it anywhere in any of documents which is Leda posted it! Now I have it; apparently it's really good

  2. It is delicious! I use regular soy sauce or tamari instead and sometimes add other veggies, like red pepper or whatever I have on had.

  3. This was so delicious! I was slightly limited by what I had on hand, so I ended up improvising more than I wanted or expected. First, I didn't have ponzu, so I used regular soy sauce instead. Second, I couldn't find Kirby cucumbers, but there were baby English cucumbers available, so I tried those in place of the the Kirbys. Third, I was out of sesame oil (I was horrified - what good Chinese girl doesn't have a ready supply on hand?), so this crucial ingredient was missing from my salad, and I think affected the end result quite a bit.

    Although the salad was still extremely tasty, I could tell there were some essential flavors missing without the sesame oil and citrus flavor. After tasting and re-tasting, I decided to take a risk and added a tiny bit of rice vinegar. This actually worked out surprisingly well, so I added more to taste (I ended up adding about 1 tablespoon), and was happy with the result.

    The salad was quickly eaten up by me and those around me, and was very well received by all. When I got to my final bites of the salad, I pulled out some mandarin oranges and tried a bite of salad with a slice of mandarin orange, which was interesting and tasty, but the additional citrus flavor from the mandarin orange was a little overpowering.

    Despite my desperate improvisations, the salad was a hit and I look forward to making it again! Next time, I'll be armed and ready with sesame oil...