I love this salad because not only is it delicious but it can taken for lunch on the go, or be served as a light supper. It is quick to prepare, healthy and very satisfying. I often make a double serving of this salad just so I can have it another day.
Lentils and spinach are a rich source of iron, which often drops in pregnancy, and combined with the vitamin C of the lemon juice and other veg, it helps its absorption. Lentils and leafy greens are also abundant in folate- the natural form of folic acid- so are great for those of you trying to conceive or in early pregnancy, as folate is especially important for your baby’s early development. If that wasn’t enough goodness to convince you, lentils are also full of protein and fibre, so will keep you going for longer and help prevent constipation! There are many types of lentils, but for salads I tend to like puy lentils, as they cook quickly and retain their shape when cooked so still look appetizing.
As lentils are one of the only pulses that don’t need to be soaked in advance, they are suitable for a last-minute quick fix lunch or dinner. Combined with the roasted tomatoes and halloumi, this salad is satisfying even on those colder days and can be served warm or cold. You can substitute the halloumi for feta cheese, or just leave it out altogether if you are avoiding dairy. Halloumi and feta are generally both made from pasteurised milk, and therefore are safe to eat in pregnancy, however, make sure to check the label just to be sure.
If you’re really craving carbs, you can add some roasted squash to the salad too, or add a side of oven roasted sweet potato chips!
Serves 2 Total time: 30 min
200g Puy or green lentils
500ml bone or veg broth (or just use water)
1 Bay leaf
200g Cherry tomatoes
200g Halloumi cheese (sliced and soaked for 15 min)
1 Avocado (ripe)
100g mixed lettuce leaves (anything but iceberg)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon- juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Add the lentils, bay leaf and the broth (or water) to the pot and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and allow the lentils to simmer gently for 20-25min, or until the lentils are just tender and still retain some bite.
Meanwhile, slice the halloumi so that the slices are around 1/2cm thick. Place them in a bowl of cold water and allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. This will get rid of the rubbery texture, and allow the cheese to become soft and yummy.
Next, place the cherry tomatoes whole, with a little bit of olive oil drizzled onto them, into the oven, and allow to roast at 200C, for 15min.
Prepare the salad leaves & peel and slice the avocado now if you still have some time.
Once the halloumi has soaked, drain and pat it dry with some paper towel. Heat a griddle pan on medium to high heat (or just a normal pan if you don’t have a griddle one), and drizzle a tablespoon of oil in it before placing the halloumi slices on the pan. Allow them cook for 2 or so minutes on each side, checking them to make sure they don’t burn.
Drain the cooked lentils and discard the bay leaf, and then assemble all your ingredients together. Squeeze half a lemon and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the salad (more or less to taste), and voilà! Dinner is served.