Lentils are so versatile. Apart from «Moudgendra» (cypriot dish with lentils, rice and fried onions), they make excellent curries, hearty soups and flavorful salads. In this recipe, the combination of lentils and pearl barley creates the perfect texture and the fresh fragrance of coriander and mint make this a definite winner. As for the olive crisps, they are seriously addictive and so easy to make. They compliment any salad or soup.
For the olive crisps
- 2 large round, arabic pitas (if you can’t find arabic style pitas, use any other kind of pita bread)
- 1 small jar black olive paste
- 2-3 Tbs olive oil for brushing the pitas
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 chicken stock cube
- ½ cup brown lentils
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbs honey
- salt and pepper to taste
To assemble the salad
- 1 ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- 1 Tbs mint leaves
- 4 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
Make the olive crisps. Preheat oven to 150 C. Split the pittas in half and lay on the kitchen counter, cut side up. Brush with olive oil and spread the olive paste. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until crisp and golden. Leave on a wire rack, to cool completely. Break big, uneven pieces with your hands. Store in a tightly covered container up to one week.
In a small sauce pan, bring plenty of salted water to boil. Add the lentils and cook until soft, but not mushy. Time of cooking depends on the brand, so keep checking for doneness. In another pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook stirring often, until soft and golden. Add the pearl barley and stir to coat oin the oil and onions. Pour in plenty of boiling water and the stock cube. Lower the heat and simmer until barley is cooked (about 30 minutes). Drain and put in a large bowl to cool. Add the cooked lentils in the same bowl.
Make the dressing, by combining all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking well. Assemble the salad. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the lentils and barley. Mix well and drizzle with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the olive crisps.