16.09.2019
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07.05.2019

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A seriously delicious and oh so filling salad, with loads of good ingredients that come together to create a really satisfying meal. Buckwheat, beluga lentils, roasted asparagus, sunflower seeds, mixed salad leaves, blueberries and a herby dressing with avocado and lime. Can you feel the freshness wafting through the screen?

It’s getting warmer by the day. For me this means I’m starting to crave different sorts of food than I do when it’s freezing cold. Yes obviously that means ice cream instead of chocolate, but it also means salads instead of heavy hot meals.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: an old wooden surface with salad ingredients on it.  To the top, a colander with green salad leaves, to the right some asparagus in an enamel jug, below that a chopping board with a knife, a halved lime and some parsley. To the bottom of the photo some blueberries in a bowl, a lime and a spring of spearmint. To the left a jar of buckwheat and a jar of beluga lentils. Above those a bowl of yogurt (not used in the recipe). In the centre of the photo is a whole avocado.

If the sound of salad for dinner makes you scoff, I’m with you. I have never been one to eat a couple of green leaves and a stick of celery and pretend it satisfied me. When I say salad, I mean something more like this baby here.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: a close up of some asparagus placed upright in an enamel jug.

Maybe a better way to describe what I am referring to when I say “salad for dinner”, is a salad-meal. Something “substantial” as Mrs. D. (my mum) would say. Something that will actually take up some space in my stomach. Well, sorry, but a couple of leaves and a stick of celery are only good for getting my stomach juices flowing and alerting them to the fact that proper dinner is on its way. Or they can be good for sitting at the side of whatever other yummy stuff I’ve loaded onto my plate.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A side view of a table with ingredients. From left to right, mixed greens in a colander, a jug with asparagus, a jar of buckwheat, a jar or beluga lentils, a head of garlic, a lime, a bunch of parsley, bowl of blueberries and a bowl of sunflower seeds.

No, salad for dinner means a big big bowl of veggies PLUS something else. Best things to accompany the veg – for me – are legumes and/or grains. Lentils, chickpeas, cranberry beans (I love these) etc, or bulgur wheat, rice, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat etc (quinoa and buckwheat are pseudograins but whatevs, they are delicious). Here I chose beluga lentils which are cute and hold their shape fantastically, and buckwheat which is so nutty and flavourful.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A top view of some ingredients on a wooden surface. To the top a bowl of cooked buckwheat, to the right a tiny bowl of sunflower seeds, to the bottom right a baking tray with roasted asparagus, to the bottom left a cup of creamy dressing, a knife and a lime, to the top left a bowl of cooked beluga lentils. In the centre a colander with mixed salad leaves.

An interesting dressing is always necessary too. A simple olive oil and vinegar (heavy on the vinegar) dressing is great with some things, for example my Greek Dakos potato salad and anything containing beetroot, but I’ll often experiment with other stuff as well. Orange juice is a favourite, I love it in salads. Also tahini, honey, cumin, tartar sauce, blue cheese, even buttermilk and jam, have all made appearances in my salads (not all at once, ha!).

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: a close view of a tea cup containing creamy salad dressing. Around it (half visible) are a baking tray with roasted asparagus, some limes, a bowl of cooked beluga lentils and a bowl of sunflower seeds.

This time it’s avocado, herbs and lime. This stuff is gorgeous. And if you omit the water you can use it to dip stuff in. So tasty, fresh and vibrant!

So, mixed salad leaves, always a good base for refreshing salads, lentils, buckwheat, and then sunflower seeds and blueberries too. The blueberries are optional but do provide little unexpected bursts of zingy sweetness here and there.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A very close view of some blueberries.

In the photos you will see some dairy products. In one there is a bowl of sheep’s yogurt. This was initially included in the dressing, as I thought it would be an interesting creamy addition. Then (after having completed the photo shoot), I decided I needed to do one more test and made it again without. I discovered that in fact the avocado flavour was more prominent this way, and the dressing itself a bit sharper-tasting. Which is a good thing in this case. So no yogurt. The cheese you see on the platter is anthotyro, a soft fresh white cheese similar to ricotta. It’s a mild tasting addition to the salad which is good, but can easily be left out without spoiling the overall deliciousness. This way the salad is completely plant based too.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: a very close view of a salad consisting of mixed salad leaves, asparagus, beluga lentils, buckwheat and blueberries. Some soft white cheese and some salad dressing are half visible to the side of the image.

The roasted asparagus on the other hand should not be left out. It should not be left out of anything if you ask me! Ok, I may be exaggerating but it’s my new food crush. Why haven’t I eaten more asparagus in my life? I am going to make up for lost time.

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A very close view of some roasted asparagus tips on an old baking tray.

Oh and a quick note on the garlic. You can either pop it in the food processor as is with the dressing ingredients, for a zippy and slightly more intense result, or roast it beside the asparagus first, for a mellower flavor.

Right, I think that’s enough of my babbling. Do I go on a bit too much about each and every ingredient? Please be honest, if I should be keeping my posts shorter it would be good to know!

And as always I’m going to ask that if you do make the recipe, please tag me (@thefoodiecorner) in any photos! I love sharing them on my IG stories!

Green Salad with Buckwheat, Beluga Lentils, Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Dressing www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A close view of a salad on a platter, consisting of green salad leaves, asparagus, beluga lentils, buckwheat and blueberries, tossed together. Some soft white cheese and some salad dressing on a spoon are also visible, as well as some lime wedges.

Ingredients

For the asparagus:
250 gr green asparagus tips, fresh
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove (raw or roasted, see step 1)
1 medium avocado (140 gr peeled and pitted)
3 Tbs parsley, chopped
1 Tbs spearmint, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper, freshly cracked
1/8 tsp tabasco hot sauce
4-6 Tbs water

For the salad:
160 gr mixed salad leaves (mine were escarole, lamb’s lettuce and radicchio)
100 gr (1/2 cup) beluga lentils (pls see “Show me more ideas and suggestions” below)
100 gr (1/2 cup) buckwheat (pls see “Show me more ideas and suggestions” below)
70 gr (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
60 gr (or a large handful) blueberries
anthotyro or ricotta to serve (optional)

Show me more ideas and suggestions

Boil them according to package instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes and I boiled them in 2 cups of water on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and a bay leaf. Let cool.

Step 1

Pre-heat oven to 180C fan (200C conventional). Place the asparagus on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss with your fingers and spread out into one layer. If you want to roast the garlic just pop the clove on the tray. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus is easily pierced with a knife (test in the lower part of the stem). Set aside to cool.

Step 2

Add the garlic (either roasted or raw), avocado, parsley, spearmint, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and tabasco in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the water and blend some more. If necessary repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons to thin as required.

Step 3

Place the salad leaves, lentils, buckwheat, sunflower seeds and blueberries in a large bowl. Toss with most of the dressing, adding more as you go (if desired). Serve immediately with the roasted asparagus and cheese (if using) on top.

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