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Lentil, Celery, & Ginger Salad*

Serves 4

1 large, long carrot, peeled
3 large ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded
8 to 9 oz green lentils, washed
1 small yellow onion
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp peeled and finely chopped ginger
1-1/2 T lemon juice
1-1/2 T soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 oz onion sprouts

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cut the carrot lengthwise into 8 identical strips at 1/8-inch thick, 3/4-inch wide, and 5 inches long. Blanch the strips in boiling water for 1 minute and then plunge them into cold water. Drain and dry on a cloth or paper towels. Chop the tomatoes very finely. Transfer the tomatoes into a fine sieve over a bowl to eliminate excess water. Cook the lentils and yellow onion gently for about 45 minutes in water; drain and cool. Mix the lentils with celery, red onion, ginger, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For the cucumber vinaigrette, process the cucumber, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a blender with about 5 on-and-off pulses, until the texture is very smooth. Season to taste.

Use 4 round, non-fluted pastry cutters, 3-1/4 inch in diameter and 3/4-inch deep, as molds. Place a mold in the middle of each plate. Curve 2 strips of carrot, end to end, around the interior edge of each mold, trimming them if necessary. Fill the molds with lentil salad, firmly pressing it down with the back of a tablespoon. Garnish the top with a layer of chopped raw tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and smooth over with a small spatula so that the tomato is level with the top of the mold. Using a paper towel, very carefully soak up any excess liquid which has escaped under the bottom edge of the mold. Meticulously pull off the pastry cutters, leaving a crunchy, refreshing, and vitamin-packed salad in the shape of a small cake. Gently spoon the cucumber vinaigrette around the carrot and lentil cake and garnish attractively with the onion sprouts.


  • A great salad for a great light meal.
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