Lovely beluga lentils have a firmness and a glossy dark colour that makes them a beautiful addition to salads. Use the best quality buffalo mozzarella you can, it makes a huge difference to the salad.
½ cup beluga lentils (you can buy these from Sabato, you also use French green lentils)
1 cup vegetable stock
zest of 1 lemon
¼ red onion, peeled and sliced very thinly
125 grams buffalo mozzarella (I use Clevedon Buffalo Mozzarella)
250 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon coconut or light muscovado sugar
large handful fresh basil leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jug or bowl and use a hand blender to blitz until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
Placing in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving will result in a thicker dressing.
Place the lentils and stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes, with a lid slightly ajar, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir through the lemon zest. Leave to cool to room temperature before stirring through the red onion, half the dressing and half the tomatoes.
To assemble: Spoon the lentils onto a large plate. Scatter with the remaining cherry tomatoes. Tear the mozzarella into roughly 6 pieces and place on top.
Drizzle additional dressing over the mozzarella and tomatoes as desired. Season with a little cracked black pepper and scatter with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.