Spicy lentil, radish and parsley salad

20080518 LentilRadishSaladTitleOh, I had such good intentions.

I came home on Friday afternoon and the three-day weekend stretched ahead of me as if it would never end.  Surely I would have time to do absolutely everything on my blog to do list?  I mean, how long can it take to post a couple of recipes, recategorise over 500 posts, do housekeeping on all my blogrolls and spend some time editing photos of the things I've cooked recently, restaurants I've visited, and the rather excellent London International Wine Fair that I attended last week?  And surely there would be time left over to work on my newly-created South African Food and Wine Blogger Directory and catch up on other blogs in my Google Reader?


If I then add that we had invited friends over for a braai (BBQ) on Saturday afternoon and some other friends for a fondue on Sunday night… you can see where this is heading!

I am known by my friends and family to be chronically late for things – a characteristic that I share with both my parents.  I remember mentioning this in one of the many "random thing" memes that I have filled in over the past few years, and within hours I had a commenter berating me saying that this was pure arrogance and a clear indication that I thought my time was more valuable that other people's time!  I was a little taken aback as nothing could be further from the truth – I have never made a conscius decision to be late and though "what the hell, let them wait at the rainy bus stop, I'll make myself a coffee before I go".  No, my problem is that I always optimistically overestimate how much I can do in the allotted time, which leads to my overcommitting myself.  And by the time I figure out I'm overcommitted, I feel too guilty to pull out of things and let people down, so I end up pushing on through the night to finish stuff – or I end up being late, stressed and unhappy for social engagements. And when you look at what I thought I could accomplish this weekend, it will be imediately apparent to anybody but me that this is not going to happen.  Any advice whatsoever in this regard will be gratefully received!

But to cut a long story short, I ended up having two very successful social events, editing quite a few photos, collecting a number of blogger profiles for the Directory… but ultimately not getting round to either the recategorisation or making a dent in my Google Reader – or that much by way of new postings, come to think of it!  And so we stagger into a new week, two steps behind and running to catch up. Clearly , this is my destiny!!

C'est la vie.  At least we did eat well over the weekend, despite my slow progress on the blogging front and the traditional Bank Holiday Downpour.  After a glorious start to summer, we seem to have taken 10 steps back, so all my plans for lots of light and summery salads have had to be temporarily shelved.  Instead, I bring you this far heartier number, featuring delicious spicy lentils for body and light, crispy radishes and fresh parsley to lift the mood with their crunch.  I can't pretend that it is related to any particular country's cuisine – I simply added herbs and seasonings that I felt like at the time. 

I can't emphasise enough just how delicious the end result was though – hearty and filling, spicy and warming, but at the same time seemingly fresh and crunchy.  It would be great with a BBQ, but equally great with a quiche. 

SPICY LENTIL, RADISH AND PARSLEY SALAD (serves 3-4)20080518 LentilRadishSalad2


1 cup of green lentils
a pinch of ground cumin
a pinch of Thai 7 spice mix
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
20g pickled ginger, finely chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp sweet chile sauce
a squeeze of lemon juice
about 12 small radishes
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley


Soak the lentils overnight before cooking. Cover the lentils with fresh boiling salted water and boil for 30 minutes or until tender (I sometimes add a vegetable stock cube to the boiling water instead of salting it).  Drain and leave to cool. 

Warm the cumin and Thai 7 spice mix in a dry saucepan – but watch that it does not burn.  When the fragrance of the spices is released, add the vinegar and garlic.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients plus the cooked lentils and stir well.  Adjust the seasoning to taste with lemon juice.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.

While it is cooling, wash and thinly slice the radishes.  Wash and roughly shop the parsley.  Mix the radishes and parsley into the cooled lentils and serve.

I was so taken with the photographs of this tasty salad that I am submitting the first photo in this post as my entry for this month's Click event, hosted by my talented friends Jai and Bee at Jugalbandi. The theme is beans and lentils - check out their announcement post for details, the deadline and their dedicated entry form.


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  1. says

    It sounded a lot like my weekends – all intentions and nothing materializes. As long as you had fun…A lovely looking salad you have here.

  2. says

    Hello…! Sounds like you had fabulous bank holiday weekend.
    Your photo of the salad looks awesome! I love the contrasting red, white and green. It’s tempting even the non lentil fan here to sink my fork into some. :)
    ps. I too have over 600 posts on my google reader to catch up on. I suspect I will end up skimming through them and marking them all as read. Now if only I could get my own posts up as quick as everyone does… ;p

  3. says

    Bee and Kalyn – thanks so much for your compliments!
    Suganya – the Thai 7 spice that I use is made by the Cape Herb and Spice Company in South Africa and I like it because it only contains natural ingredients (unlike some others). I mention this because there is apparently no agreement on the exact seven spices and other mixes may contain other spices. Mine, however, contains (in order of amounts) chillies, basil, black pepper, sea salt, garlic, coriander (seeds and leaves) and dried lime zest. Hope that clarifies it! If you can find a good one, it’s a great mix to keep around for cooking as it gives a lovely complex spiciness to any dish.
    Nina – phew! I though it was just me who’s always running to stay in the same place 😉
    Fearless Kitchen – lucky you! All my husband plants in the garden is the barbecue when he’s ready to cook! Fresh radishes on tap sounds like heaven – and you’ll love the crunch they give to this salad.
    I-ling – I must say, colours weren’t my primary motivation when I chose the ingredients – but I was just thrilled when I saw how pretty it was too. Lentils can be somewhat, umm, unphotogenic. And good luck with that Google reader… I don’t think I will ever get through mine!
    Rosemary – I know what you mean! To me, lentils say “winter”, but with this salad they are great for summertime too :)

  4. says

    So funny — your to-do list mentioned at the top of this post (entirely blog-related, in one way or another) is so much like mine. One of my daughters chides me for being less involved in life/the ‘real’ world than I should be, but what to do. I love your salad, it looks delicious. I’m bookmarking it!

  5. says

    Hi, I tried this salad and we all loved it! We had it with teriyaki style beef the first night and the next night we had it with grilled chicken. Very good!
    The spiciness of the salad was best with the simple grilled chicken and jasmine rice.Mahalo for the recipe.

  6. says

    Gprgeous salad – I love lentils and radishes together.
    And just so you know…. Here in France it is considered very rude to arrive on time. One must be at least 15 minutes ‘late’… It’s expected. 30 is okay, but after that you are actually considered late.