Puy lentil and sausage salad

    1 hour 30 min

    Tiny green Puy lentils have a slightly nutty texture and flavour, and are perfect in salads as they keep their shape well once cooked. Here they are mixed with grilled venison sausages and Mediterranean vegetables, plus a handful of fresh rocket leaves. All you need to accompany the dish is some crusty French bread.

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    Serves: 6 

    • 300 g (10½ oz) Puy lentils
    • 2 red peppers, halved and seeded
    • 4 courgettes, halved lengthways
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 450 g (1 lb) high-meat-content venison sausages
    • 2 small white or red onions, cut into wedges
    • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 300 g (10½ oz) new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into dice
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
    • 1 tbsp German or Dijon mustard
    • 45 g (1½ oz) rocket

    Prep:50min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. Preheat the grill. Rinse the lentils and put them in a large saucepan of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until just tender. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.
    2. While the lentils are cooking, rub the skins of the red peppers and courgettes with a little of the oil. Arrange the vegetables, skin side up, in the grill pan, in one layer. Add the sausages. Grill for 10–15 minutes, turning the sausages occasionally, until they are cooked and browned on all sides and the vegetables are tender. Transfer the peppers to a polythene bag and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins.
    3. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and add the onions, celery, garlic and potatoes. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes or until tender.
    4. Roughly chop the sausages and the grilled peppers and courgettes, then add them to the frying pan. Also add the cooked lentils, thyme, parsley, vinegar and mustard. Stir well, and add a little of the lentil cooking water to moisten the mixture slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm or cool. Toss in the rocket leaves just before serving.

    Some more ideas

    For a quick version of this salad, replace the dried lentils with 2 cans lentils, about 300 g each, drained and rinsed. Slice the sausages and chop all the vegetables, including the peppers and courgettes. Stir-fry them all together for 10 minutes or until the sausages are cooked. Add the lentils with the other ingredients in step 4. * To make a chickpea, rice and chorizo salad, cook 300 g (10½ oz) Camargue red rice for 30–35 minutes or until tender; drain and cool. Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan, and stir-fry 2 chopped red peppers, 2 sliced red onions and 140 g (5 oz) thinly sliced chorizo for 4–5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add to the rice, with 1 can chickpeas, about 400 g, drained and rinsed, 300 g (10½ oz) halved cherry tomatoes, 25 g (scant 1 oz) shredded fresh basil leaves, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and seasoning to taste.

    Plus points

    Venison is very low in fat compared to other red meat, and provides excellent amounts of iron and B vitamins. * Puy lentils are an excellent source of fibre, particularly the soluble variety. They also provide useful amounts of many B vitamins, particularly B1 and B6, and of iron.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, C, E, folate, niacin, copper, iron, selenium * potassium, zinc * B2

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