Lentil salad with herbs, tomatoes and cucumber

Eat this salad on its own with some fresh bread, or as a side dish, perhaps with grilled chicken or lamb. It travels well so it is good for school lunches or picnics.  I find that dressing the warm, cooked lentils with our extra virgin olive oil as soon as I drain them infuses them with all the freshness and vitality of the oil.  I normally use our Robust style oil for this salad as its characteristic pepperiness adds a depth of flavour, but the fruity aromas of Nolans Road Delicate style oil work well too.  There is no need to add any vinegar or lemon juice as the tomato brings acidity to the combination of flavours.  I de-seed the tomatoes over a bowl, keeping the juice from the process which I then strain and add to the salad. Dee Nolan

1cup Nolans Road organic Matilda Lentils
½ cup tomato, peeled, the seeds removed, and cut into small dice
¼ cup cucumber, peeled, the seeds removed and cut into small dice
½ cup fresh herbs, washed and chopped finely (use whichever herbs you prefer and which are in season… an equal amount of basil and flat leaf parsley works well)
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
A generous slurp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place lentils in a sieve and rinse thoroughly with cold water.  Drain and spread on a tea towel.  Remove any grit and small stones.  Place in a saucepan and cover with at least three times their volume of cold water.  (I sometimes add a bay leaf and a small peeled brown onion at this stage for added flavour.  I remove them when the lentils are cooked and drained.)  Bring to the boil and simmer very, very gently.  Check to see if they are tender after about 40 minutes.  They can take an hour or more to cook.

Drain the lentils and place in a bowl.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and gently turn the lentils with a fork to make sure they are thoroughly coated with oil.  When cool, add the tomato, cucumber, herbs and onion and combine. Season with salt, pepper and more extra virgin olive oil to taste.

The salad can keep, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.

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