This salad is a favourite Middle Eastern dish, particularly popular in Turkey. It really is one of those simple dishes that is quick to make, yet has a distinctive flavour. Here I have served it alongside a tahini yoghurt sauce spiced with lemony sumac, and tomato, cucumber and capsicum salad. It is a hearty dish and can be eaten as it is or alongside grilled fish, meats, koftas, falafels or as a side dish at a feast or bbq. I like to eat it luke-warm or room temperature, but it holds up equally as a cold dish if you want to make ahead.





Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice Salad Recipe
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup brown lentils
chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer)
1 onion, sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pepita and sunflower seeds
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Rinse rice and cook as per your rice cooker instructions however use chicken stock instead of water for the liquid. Rinse lentils and cook on a medium-high heat in a saucepan of boiling water until cooked (take one out with a spoon and squish between your fingers to test, or eat one to test). Drain lentils, add rice when cooked and mix together and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium-hot frying pan, dry toast the seeds until golden but not burnt. Remove from pan and put aside. Add the oil to the pan and bring to a medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until they are brown and almost crispy. This may take about 10 minutes.

Stir the salt and pepper, parsley, half the seeds and the onions through the rice. Put on a serving plate and sprinkle the remaining seeds on just before serving and drizzle with the tahini yoghurt.

Serves 4-6 as a main with flat bread, or 8-10 as a side dish.

Tahini Yoghurt Recipe
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt
pinch of sumac
splash of water

Mix all ingredients together and, of course, taste and adjust! I usually add a little bit of water as the tahini really thickens up the yoghurt and for this dish it is better if it is a bit runny so it can drizzled. And as usual, the tahini quantities are estimates as I usually just keep adding and tasting until it is a desirable thickness and flavour.

Tomato, Capsicum and Sumac Salad
Roughly peel and dice a small Lebanese cucumber, 1 yellow capsicum and half a punnet of cherry tomatoes
Add some shredded basil leaves, salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and a couple pinches of sumac.


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