Last summer I planted a little bit of mint right by our porch. I hoped the smell of mint would drift through our windows at the end of hot summer days. Mint’s balmy perfume reminds me of a trip I took as a teen to Central Oregon. The days were super hot but at night the air cooled quickly. By the time we set aside our sweaty paperbacks and crept out onto the porch, the air would be thick with the scent of mint rolling into town from the nearby fields. It was nothing I had ever experienced before and I thought it was heavenly. I tried to recreate the effect. It hasn’t worked exactly the way I hoped but I do have a happy crop of chocolate and traditional mint to play with in the kitchen.
For the latest edition of Going with the Grain I wanted to keep things light and breezy. This salad doesn’t use very many ingredients but each one plays an important role in the complete dish. I picked sorghum and lentils to provide a wallop of fiber and protein in a small serving. The diced carrots provide a bit of color and crunch vital to the overall ascetic. Once you have coated everything with the oh-so-simple dressing and a generous heap of fresh mint and you will be a very happy (and full) camper.
Sorghum was new to me until very recently. It is another (gluten-free) grain that is actually a seed from grass that originated in Africa but is now cultivated and grown all over the world. I really like the way the seeds plump up when they are cooked. The texture is nice and tender and the flavor is very mild so it can be seasoned any way you choose. Apparently this seed can be popped as an alternative to corn. You better believe I am going to try that ASAP (watch Instagram for updates)!
To read more posts in the Going with the Grain series, click here.
Sorghum and Lentil Salad
Prep: 15 minutes cook: 1+ hour of simmering
Yields approximately 8 (1/2 cup) servings
1/2 cup sorghum, uncooked
1/2 cup lentils, uncooked
3 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup slivered mint
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Place the sorghum in a 3 quart pan with around 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes then add the lentils and continue to cook at a lively simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender and no longer crunchy.
Drain the water from the sorghum and lentils through a fine sieve and rinse with cold water. Give the sieve a few gentle shakes and allow the grains to remain in the sieve to cool and drain as much water as possible.
When they are no longer dripping transfer the sorghum and lentils to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
If possible prepare this salad at least 4 hours before you plan to serve it so the flavors have time to mingle and develop.
Approximate nutrition per serving: 121 calories, 3 g fat, 21 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 6 g protein, PP = 3