I had the chance to dine at A.O.C. last week; they have a new location in West Hollywood that is absolutely gorgeous. It is also dangerously close to amazing shopping off Robertson. The architecture and interiors would be a perfect fit in downtown Santa Barbara (hint, hint).
We tried a delightful Middle Eastern influenced spinach salad with lentils. At first bite, I knew as soon as I made it back to SB, I wanted to recreate it my kitchen. In trying to conjure up my inner Suzanne Goin, this rendition was born and I just have to say, it’s pretty delicious.
I would like to tell you that I used kale because it was growing like crazy in my garden and that is partly true. But it’s also due to the wine goggles I had on during dinner, I thought the original version was made with kale over spinach. Oops, Sancerre 1, Valerie 0.
But the kale really works here and it’s an entertaining friendly green. You can dress it and leave it on the counter until you are ready to eat. It needs some time to sit and mellow out before serving.
This salad makes for a fresh and tasty main course or side. It would be an awesome option to serve when you entertain a health conscious crowd for lunch. I left out oil and substituted Greek yogurt to make a creamy curry dressing. The shallots give a great kick and the mint adds freshness. I made this yesterday and am craving it again today for lunch, that’s always a good sign.
Kale & Lentil Curry Salad
Note: If you can, seek out sprouted lentils at the farmers market. They don’t even need to be cooked and have outstanding flavor and texture.
Kale (4 packs cups of kale, chopped)
½ cup of orange juice, fresh
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
Make dressing and soak the kale in it for 15 minutes, up to an hour. This soaking time works to breakdown the toughness of the kale.
1 cup lentils or sprouted or dried, red or green (dealers choice — that’s for you, Ron Swanson)
½ cup mint leaves, torn
½ cup golden raisins
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon yellow curry powder
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
First, follow the package instructions to cook lentils; you want them to be toothsome, not mushy. If you have the fresh sprouted lentils, you can skip this step!
Strain the kale and reserve the juice. Take the juice and mix with the yogurt and the curry powder. Then mix everything together in your salad bowl, the kale, mint, raisins, shallot and toss with the yogurt dressing to taste. You’ll have some dressing leftover.
Serve. As I mentioned above, this salad will do great at room temperature (not in the sun) for an hour or so. But once you start eating it, it won’t stay around long.