Lentil & Roast Beef Salad is a great way to use up leftover roast beef. Quick to throw together, good warm or cold, and great for lunchboxes.
Christmas dinner was at our house, and being from good country stock I had enough food to feed everybody a few times over. I have never had so many leftovers. Then, in a fit of madness, I encouraged Mr Grumpy to roast some beef in his relatively new BBQ, which only further contributed to the problem. Some of the beef found its way into this Lentil and Roast Beef Salad. The rest is in the freezer, waiting.
My New Year’s resolution is to try and make greater use of my leftovers. Those that Mr Grumpy doesn’t take for lunch that is. I am not very resourceful when it comes to using my leftovers; a situation the chickens are quite happy about. However, Australians throw out over $8 billion dollars of edible food each year, with an inability to use leftovers one of the major contributors to this growing problem. So this year I am aiming to reduce my contribution to this problem. Starting with this salad.
I am rather fond of lentils. They take little time to cook, and are extremely versatile. I use them as a base for salads, add them to soups, or serve lightly seasoned lentils as a side dish for meat and fish. I favour the small green lentils, which I’ve seen sold under many different names: French lentils, French-style lentils, and Puy lentils to name but a few. I avoid the larger flat, brown lentils that are widely available, finding them tasteless, and starchy, and difficult to use as they break up easily.
Lentils don’t need to be soaked, although doing so will significantly decrease their cooking time. Unsoaked lentils take around 20 – 30 minutes to cook, yet I have cooked soaked lentils in 12 minutes. The small green lentils, and their little red and black cousins, hold together well when cooked, and have a lovely nutty flavour which is ideal in salads.
Should you not have a piece of beef in the fridge, use slices of roast beef from a good deli or butcher instead. Simmer the lentils in the morning whilst eating breakfast, cool them in the fridge during the day, and dinner will come together in minutes. Or cook the lentils just before serving for a warm salad. Both are good. Now, any suggestions for the rest of the beef?
Lentil and Roast Beef Salad
Soak the lentils overnight to reduce the cooking time.
Serve either warm or cold.
I have used a 15ml Tablespoon for this recipe.
For the salad
- 200 g small green French lentils 1 cup, Puy
- 1 bay leaf
- 300 g shredded roast beef
- 250 g cherry tomatoes halved, 1 punnet
- 1 spring onion sliced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 leaves large handfuls washed salad
For the dressing
- 90 ml olive oil 6 Tbsp
- 30 ml red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper
- Place the lentils in a saucepan of cold water and add the bay leaf.
- Bring the lentils to the boil, then simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain and set aside. This step can be done ahead if you are making a cold salad.
- Put all of the dressing ingredients into an old jar, and shake for 1 minute until emulsified.
- Set the dressing aside.
- Place the tomatoes, spring onions and parsley in a large bowl.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Add the drained lentils and shaved beef.
- Pour over the dressing and gently toss the beef and tomato mixture through the lentils.
- Add the salad leaves and gently toss again.
- Serve with some good crusty bread to mop up the dressing.
Ensure that you use the small green French-style lentils in this recipe, rather than the large, flat brown lentils. Small red or black lentils can also be used. The lentils can be cooked the day before assembly to save time.