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soup mix salad with lemon and basil

April 25, 2013

Serves 6-8
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus overnight soaking time

Soup mix salad main pic
Q: What do you do with all those leftover bags of dried soup mix when you are sick to death of soup?

a) Stuff knitted toys
b) Scatter in the hallway for burglars to slip up on
c) Make this salad!  Hurrah!

I wondered whether it would be possible to cook soup mix so it retains its shape and doesn’t disintegrate into greyish gloop.  It turns out that yes, you can do it, if you do it like this:

a) soak for a long time, at least overnight, ideally 24 hours
b) don’t boil hard but let it all simmer very slowly
c) mix in some other pulses and grains for texture and colour – I used Puy lentils and bulgur wheat.

Expect the red lentils to disappear completely (the lightweights).  Everything else should be simmered until soft, but retaining some bite.  They should be dressed while warm so they soak up all the lovely lemony mustardy flavours, and finally tossed with salad leaves which will wilt invitingly in the residual heat.  I also threw in some nigella seeds, in homage to a fabulous grain salad I bought from the Parsnipship last weekend (Parsnipship, I love you).

Drizzle with olive oil and you have a healthy, yummy lunch that cost pennies and helped to reduce the backlog of half-used bags of pulses in your kitchen cupboard.

Soup mix salad close up

Ingredients

Dried soup or broth mix, 350g
Dried Puy lentils, 150g
Bulgur wheat, 150g
Vegan bouillon powder, 1 tbsp
Nigella seeds, 1.5 tbsp

For the dressing:
Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
Dijon mustard, 1.5 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil, 6 tbsp, plus extra for drizzling
A squeeze of agave nectar
Lots of salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve:
Basil leaves, one handful, chiffonaded
Salad leaves, several handfuls

Soak the soup mix and lentils in cold water overnight (ideally for 24 hours).  Drain, cover with cold water in a large saucepan, and bring slowly to the boil.  Once boiling reduce the heat, skim the froth, and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes until just cooked.

Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl, cover with 250ml of boiling water, and mix in the bouillon.  Cover the bowl and put to one side for 30 minutes.

Prep the dressing: put all the ingredients into a jam jar, screw the lid on and shake vigorously until emulsified.

When the grains are cooked drain them and mix them, in a large bowl, with the bulgur wheat and nigella seeds.  Gently toss the warm grains with the dressing.  Taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

Just before serving combine the salad leaves and basil with the warm grains, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin.

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