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Cabbage, avocado, lentils

This unusual combination works superbly. It has become a favourite lunch, and I would happily serve it as a dinner party starter too. It’s light and fresh, with a lovely creamy richness from the avocado.

Method

Put the lentils into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute, then drain and return to the pan. Pour on enough water to cover by 1cm or so. Add the garlic and bay leaf and parsley stalks, if using. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook slowly for about 25 minutes, topping up with boiling water if necessary, until tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper (or shake in a jam jar to emulsify).

Drain the lentils and discard the garlic and herbs. Toss with

2 tablespoons of the dressing, add a little more salt and pepper and set aside to cool completely.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Remove the tough stalks from the cabbage and coarsely shred the leaves. Add to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds–1 minute, no more. Drain in a colander, then immediately refresh the cabbage by holding the colander under cold running water. This will stop the cooking process and helps to keep the brilliant green colour. Drain the cabbage again, then give it a whirl in a salad spinner to remove all water.

When the cabbage and the lentils are ready, peel and stone the avocados and cut the flesh into 2–3cm pieces. Gently toss the cabbage with the lentils and avocado. Divide between individual bowls, trickle over the remaining dressing and serve.

Serving suggestions

Plus one

A scattering of crisply fried bacon is, unsurprisingly, a pretty good way to top this off.

Swaps

This recipe works well with a good crisp lettuce, such as Cos or Little Gem, instead of the cabbage. There’s no need to cook the lettuce – just wash it, spin it dry and coarsely shred it.

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Ingredients

  • 100g Puy lentils
  • 1 garlic clove (unpeeled), bashed
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • A handful of parsley stalks (optional)
  • ½ small green cabbage, such as Savoy (about 200g in total)
  • 2 avocados
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

This recipe is taken from...

Hugh’s Three Good Things

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