Traveling to Istanbul a few years ago was a life changing experience. I was visting Turkey in a professional capacity at a World Bank conference…..but instantly felt a very personal connection on a cellular level. I loved every single thing about the beautiful country: centuries of history, exquisite architecture, vibrant people and beyond flavorful food. Let’s not even discuss my unbridled joy at the Spice Bazaar….I behaved literally like a kid in a candy store. In this Spice Bazaar, surrounded by pyramid after pyramid of richy-hued spices, I had a complete and utter epiphany. Cooking dominates my every waking and dreaming thought. I actually dream in courses. Wall Street career, not so much. So I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime….doing exactly what I live and love to do….creating recipes and working for a spice business. In honor of the country where I truly found my calling, try the S&T version of Turkish Adas Salatasi…. adelightful, lemony, powerfully healthy lentil and bulgur salad.
Recipe for Turkish Lentil Salad
- 1 1/2 cups dry lentils, picked and rinsed
- 1 cup bulgur, cooked
- 1/2 cup red onion, minced
- 1 cup parsley, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, quartered and sliced
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
Cook lentils in 4 1/2 cups water with one smashed garlic clove. Rinse, drain and cool. Combine cooled lentils, minced garlic, red onion, bulgur, cumin, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, tomato paste and Dijon mustard. Salt and pepper to taste. Let flavors marry for 2 hours up to overnight in the fridge. Serve on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce plus tomato slices. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4. * Cook’s note: this lentil salad can keep up to a week in the fridge.