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Eggplant and lentil salad

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Just past midwinter, you need something warming, deeply flavoured and nourishing, yet crisp and fresh, promising summer. This lovely eggplant/aubergine lentil salad, flavoured with cumin, coriander and fresh mint fits the bill.

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(serves 2 as a light lunch)

1 eggplant, cut into small chunks
1 tin of brown lentils
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
salt and pepper
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
a sprinkling of broken walnuts pieces
a large handful of fresh mint

Dressing

2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ a tablespoon of cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
½ a teaspoon of rice malt syrup
zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Chop the eggplant into small chunks and put in a roasting tray. Coat them in the olive oil and cumin, season with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes. Add the lentils and the coriander seeds and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the celery, walnuts and chopped mint with the eggplant lentil mix. Dress and serve. This would go well with a strong goat’s cheese.

(Eggplant/aubergine provides B vitamins, copper and manganese as well as a compound called nasunin found in the purple skin, which protects brain cells from free radical damage; the walnuts assist in brain health with their potent fat content; lentils provide fibre and protein and fresh mint aids digestion, respiration and alleviates fatigue, all excellent qualities for a Winter salad herb.)

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